Home improvement retailer Lowe's Cos Inc (LOW.N) reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales and profit and cut its full-year earnings forecast, sending its shares down in premarket trading on Wednesday.

Analysts had expected a stronger performance due to the strength in the housing market and higher spending on home renovations.

Larger rival Home Depot Inc (HD.N) boosted its full-year earnings forecast on Tuesday.

Lowe's, whose shares were down 6.7 per cent in premarket trading, earned US$1.37 per share, excluding items, below the average analysts' estimate of US$1.42, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net sales rose 5.3 per cent to US$18.26 billion, below the US$18.45 billion analysts had expected. Home Depot's sales rose 6.6 percent.

Lowe's said the cut in its earnings forecast reflected its acquisition of Quebec-based Rona Inc.

Sales at Lowe's stores open more than 13 months rose 2 per cent, compared with the 4.1 per cent growth expected by analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix. Home Depot's same-store sales rose 4.7 per cent.

Net income rose to $1.17 billion, or $1.31 per share, in the second quarter ended July 29 from $1.13 billion, or $1.20 per share, a year earlier.