Lowe’s warns same-store sales could drop next year

Lowe’s was riding high. The home improvement retailer’s shares surged as earnings trounced market expectations amid soaring demand for tools and building materials, leading the company to hike its full-year sales forecast.

But just one month later, a different picture is emerging. Lowe’s warned Wall Street Wednesday that it sees same-store sales falling as much as 3% next year. It also issued a revenue and profit forecast for the full year that fell short of analysts’ targets.

Lowe’s chief financial officer said Wednesday that the home improvement sector would likely shrink modestly next year, noting that the industry had benefited this year from higher inflation and government stimulus.

The announcement signaled that the surge in demand for its products sparked by the health crisis would finally wane. Americans might be spending their money elsewhere – instead of on paint, tools and gardening equipment.

Lowe’s shares, whose 58% appreciation this year vastly outperformed the broader market as investors bet on a strong holiday season, fell at the market open Wednesday before bouncing back.