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Lowe’s profit climbs despite late spring

FORTUNE — Lowe’s Companies Inc.’s (LOW) fiscal first-quarter net earnings jumped 16% as the home improvement retailer reported higher sales, though growth was somewhat stunted due to the late start to spring.

Lowe’s and rival Home Depot Inc. (HD) have benefited from a recovering housing market, as well as stronger job and income growth. Both retailers have pointed to home price appreciation as a key metric to watch as a gauge of spending, saying the increased value of the home can help persuade consumers to shop.

Lowe’s reported a 2.4% increase in sales for the latest quarter, rising to $13.4 billion. Same-store sales rose 0.9%, underperforming rival Home Depot’s 2.6% increase.

“We executed well during the quarter, despite an unexpectedly prolonged winter in many areas of the country,” said Lowe’s chief executive Robert Niblock.

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The poor weather hurt store traffic at Lowe’s during the latest quarter and hurt sales of outdoor items, though indoor items sold well. Home Depot and Lowe’s executives this week have said results improved in May.

Lowe’s said net earnings rose 16% for the quarter ended May 2, rising from from $540 million, or 49 cents a share, a year earlier to $624 million, or 61 cents a share. Profit in the latest period totaled 58 cents a share on an adjusted basis, excluding tax settlements and asset impairment charges.

Analysts had expected Lowe’s to report an adjusted profit of 60 cents a share on sales of $13.89 billion, according to Bloomberg.

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Lowe’s also affirmed its sales targets for the current fiscal year, but now expects per-share earnings of about $2.60, down from the prior target of about $2.63. Lowe’s also announced that it boosted its share buyback plan by an additional $5 billion, for a total authorization of $6.3 billion as of the end of January.