Lowe’s stumbles in second quarter

Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s posted declines in net sales, comp-store sales and earnings in the second quarter ended Aug. 3.

“Our results fell short of our overall expectations,” said Robert Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO. “However, I have confidence in our strategy and in our employees, and while we recognize the significant magnitude of change that we’ve asked the organization to absorb as we transform our business, we fully understand that we must improve our level of execution.”

The world’s second largest home improvement retailer posted sales of $14.2 billion in the quarter, down 2.0% from $14.5 billion in the same quarter last year. Comp-store sales in the quarter were negative 0.4%.

Earnings of $747 million were down 10.0% from the same quarter a year ago.

The quarterly comparisons in 2012, which is a 52-week year, are impacted by a shift in comparable weeks, the company said. For the six-month period, comparable-store sales increased 1.0%

As of Aug. 3, 2012, Lowe’s operated 1,748 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico, representing 196.8 million sq. ft. of retail selling space.

That compares with rival Home Depot’s store count of 2,255 stores. Last week, Home Depot reported gains in comps and sales and a double-digit percentage gain in net earnings.