Lowe's posts sales and earnings declines in Q1

The country's second largest home center chain posted sales of $12.2 billion in its first quarter ended April 29. That's down 1.6% as the one-two punch of bad weather and the weak economy took its toll.

The company's earnings also declined -- down 5.7% to $461 million. Comparable-store sales were down 3.3%.

"We delivered earnings per share within our guidance for the quarter, despite lower-than-expected sales,” commented Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chairman and CEO. “During the quarter, we faced ongoing economic pressures, unfavorable weather conditions and tough comparisons to last year’s government stimulus programs. While we are focused on competing effectively in the current environment, we are also working diligently on our commitment to deliver better customer experiences. We are building momentum in 2011 behind our transformation from a home improvement retailer to a home improvement company.”

Looking ahead to the second quarter, Lowe's expects sales to increase about 4%, and it expects comparable-store sales to increase about 2%. 

During the quarter, Lowe’s opened four stores, including one relocation, and closed one store that was damaged by a tornado. The company operates 1,751 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico.