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Will Ellison bring back the mojo at Lowe’s?

Lowe’s Companies (LOW) is set to report its second-quarter results on Wednesday before the market opens. This will be the first quarter where the home improvement chain will be reporting its results under the helm of the new CEO Marvin Ellison. It would be interesting to see whether Lowe’s is able to mimic the stellar results posted by its peers this earnings season.

For the second quarter, analysts expect earnings to come in at $2.02 per share on sales of $20.82 billion, an increase of about 7% over last year. Last week, Lowe’s rival Home Depot (HD) reported stellar results backed by strong comp-store sales growth of 8% and raised its outlook for fiscal 2018.

Thanks to strong macro factors, retailers across the board have been benefitted this season which was reflected in their earnings. This is expected to bode well for Lowe’s as well in the second quarter results in addition to the strategic changes implemented by Ellison since he took over the corner office.

Lowe's Q2 Earnings

Last quarter, the home improvement chain reported disappointing results sending the stock down 8% post the announcement of the results. Unfavorable weather conditions dragged the sales on its outdoor category, which had a dent on its first-quarter results.

Related: Home Depot Q2 results

Comp-store sales will be a key metric watched by investors. Given the favorable tailwinds for the company, one can expect the same-store sales growth to be better in the second quarter compared to a paltry 0.6% reported last quarter. Rival Home Depot saw its comp sales jumping 8% in the second quarter.

Lowe’s is expected to garner more sales from its Pro customers, which will give a fillip to the second quarter results. With improved consumer spending and rebound in the housing market, maintenance, repair, and operations are projected to contribute more to the top line.

However, Ellison and his team need to keep a tab on the expenses and inventory position, which would impact margins. There is stiff competition from the likes of Amazon (AMZN) to big-box retailers like Lowe’s which needs to beef up its digital initiatives apart from the traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

Related: Lowe’s Q1 results

Lowe’s stock performance has been modest in 2018 growing about 7% while in the last 12 months the stock had surged above 34%. Shares of Lowe’s rose 1.01% to $98.97 at the end of Monday’s regular trading session.

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