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Customers Spent More Per Visit, Boosting Lowe’s Q3

Today, Lowe’s Cos. reported net earnings of $396 million for the third quarter ended November 2, or diluted earnings per share of 35 cents, versus $225 million, or diluted earnings per share of 18 cents, for the year-earlier period. One-time charges reduced pre-tax earnings for the third quarter by $85 million and diluted earnings per share by five cents, the company noted, while last year’s financial results include one-time charges that reduced pre-tax earnings by $368 million and diluted earnings per share by 18 cents.

Lowe’s diluted earnings per shares for the third quarter exceeded a Thomson Reuters average analyst estimate by a nickel.

Third quarter comparable store sales quarter increased 1.8% on a consolidated basis as well as for the company’s operations in the United States. A slight increase in comp transactions and a 1.6% increase in comp average ticket drove the overall metric, said Robert Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO, in a conference call.

He said in the conference call, “Twelve of 14 product categories ended the quarter with a positive comp. In fact nearly two-thirds of the categories generated above the company average including big-ticket categories including cabinets and countertops, and appliances. Building materials was the only significant drag in the quarter, which resulted from the headwinds we faced from last year’s substantial tornado and hurricane repairs.”

In the conference call, Lowe’s noted that Hurricane Sandy drove generator, flashlight and battery sales in the third quarter, although the storm did hurt store opening hours in impacted regions. Lowe’s expects to experience cleanup and recovery related sales from Hurricane Sandy to continue into the early part of 2013. Because of weather-related spending last year, hurricanes in 2011 had no comp impact in the most recently completed quarter, Niblock said.

As of November 2, Lowe’s operated 1,750 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.