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US-based home-improvement chain Lowe’s has enjoyed a boost in sales from shoppers’ efforts to clean up and rebuild after a string of severe hurricanes hit earlier this year.

The North Carolina-based company said on Tuesday that net earnings of $872m for the three months ending October 28, or $1.05 in diluted earnings per share, compared to $379m in earnings and 43 cents per diluted share in the same period a year earlier. Analysts had expected a smaller boost, looking for earnings of $853m, or $1.02 a share.

Sales were up 6.5 per cent year-on-year to $16.8bn, while comparable sales — a key industry metric — rose 5.7 per cent, compared to expectations for a smaller 4.5 per cent increase.

While Hurricanes Irma, Maria and Harvey have weighed down other aspects of the economy, they have been a boon for home-improvement stores like Lowe’s, as property owners get the tools and materials they need to patch up the damage. Lowe’s said that hurricane-related sales came in around $200m for the quarter. Comparable sales in its US home improvement business were up 5.1 per cent versus a year earlier.

Lowe’s chairman and chief executive Robert Niblock said:

I am incredibly proud of our team’s unwavering commitment to serving customers and their communities every day. This commitment was especially evident this quarter, as our employees mounted the largest natural disaster response in our history. Our merchant, vendor, logistics, and store teams worked together seamlessly to ensure customers had the right products to protect and repair their homes, and we remain committed to helping impacted communities rebuild in the months ahead.

Year to date, Lowe’s shares have advanced 14.5 per cent. They rose nearly 2 per cent in pre-market trading after the results before giving up those gains to trade largely up just 0.3 per cent.

Also on Tuesday, Lowe’s announced that chief operating officer Rick Damron would be retiring after five years in the job. His successor will be Richard Maltsbarger, chief development officer and president of the company’s international business.

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