Like Fool colleague Rich Smith, I'm not a big fan of retailers that blame their performance, or lack thereof, on the weather (or gas prices, or alien abduction, or the Trilateral Commission). But when a large chunk of your seasonal business is dependent on reasonably good weather, that's a different story.

Accordingly, I'm willing to believe the explanation from Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) of why first-quarter results came up a bit short of expectations. There were good quarterly comps in 16 of the company's 19 categories, but nursery, seasonal living, and lumber sales were all weak.

Those who live on the East Coast or in the upper Midwest probably don't need much more clarification on what happened. March was largely unpleasant in those parts of the country, with cold and wet weather keeping a lot of people indoors and away from home- and landscape-improvement projects.

It's not as though Lowe's had a terrible quarter, though. Sales still climbed over 14%, reported net income still rose over 30%, and same-store sales were up 3.8%. Although this last number was disappointing (and below the company's ongoing 5% guidance), there were good comps in January and February before March brought 'em down.

Simply put, I think the first quarter at Lowe's is nothing more than a blip, and if the market freaks out about it, investors who've been eyeballing the stock may have a good chance to buy on a dip created by dips.

Now, what about the future? Fellow Fool Seth Jayson already gave an extensive rundown on the Home Depot (NYSE:HD)-vs.-Lowe's value picture, so I don't have a lot to add to that discussion (curse your hide, Seth!). Frankly, I agree with him: Home Depot is probably the better bargain today but it's largely a trade-off of value versus growth.

I'll take a different tack with this comparison. I see Home Depot and Lowe's shaping up a lot like Inside Value pick Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) vs. PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP). There's certainly room for both of them. Both are high-quality operations, and the shopper's choice between the two is often either an exercise of personal preference or convenience. And like Coke vs. Pepsi, the future is largely about slower share growth in the United States and expansion overseas.

I think this talk about the end of the home-improvement "fad" is largely nonsense. I can't be the only person in America who's bought a house and hasn't yet begun to spruce it up with the tools and gear sold at Home Depot or Lowe's. What's more, as a relatively new homeowner, I'm learning the lesson that home improvement and maintenance isn't a discrete event, but rather an ongoing process. Consequently, I think Home Depot, Lowe's, and the likes of True Value have little to fear.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).