Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) today reported net income of $499 million for the three months ending on Nov. 1, an increase of 26% compared to the same quarter last year. Earnings per share for the third quarter were up from $0.35 to $0.47, an increase of 34% compared to the year-ago period.

Source: Lowe's

Lowe's sales grew to $13 billion in the third quarter, an increase of more than 7% over the $12.1 billion reported in the third quarter of 2012. Same-store sales were up 6.2%.

"I am pleased we delivered another solid quarter driven by balanced performance," Robert Niblock, Lowe's president, chairman, and CEO, said in a press release. "This balanced performance resulted from our improved collaboration and execution within a strengthening home improvement market, combined with our employees' hard work and continued dedication to serving customers."

Lowe's competitor Home Depot yesterday also announced strong earnings as a result of an improved housing market. Home Depot saw net income rise by 32% and earnings per share on an equivalent basis grow by 28%. Sales were up 7.4% and same-store sales grew by 8.2%.

Lowe's also returned cash to shareholders in the third quarter through $191 million in dividends and repurchases of approximately $760 million in common stock. Its share buybacks total $2.8 billion through the first nine months of 2013, and shares outstanding are down approximately 7% relative to the third quarter of last year.

The company also raised its full-year 2013 guidance for both sales and earnings growth. Lowe's now anticipates total sales growth of 6% and same-store sales growth of 5%, up respectively from 5% and 4.5% from the second-quarter guidance. In addition, the company raised its earnings-per-share expectations to $2.15 from $2.10 in the second quarter and $2.05 disclosed after the first quarter of this year. Finally, Lowe's said it anticipates its operating margin will improve by 75 basis points (0.75%), up from the 65 basis points noted in the second quarter.

Niblock concluded his comments by noting, "The home improvement industry is poised for persisting growth in the fourth quarter and further acceleration in 2014."