WILKESBORO, N.C. -- The fiscal first-quarter profit of Lowe's Co. rose an unexpectedly robust 20% as the home-improvement retailer controlled costs and increased sales.

Net income rose to $225.3 million, or 58 cents a share, from $187.1 million, or 49 cents, a year earlier, Lowe's said. Sales in the quarter ended May 4 rose 18% to $5.28 billion, helped by new stores and an extra week in the quarter.

The company sold more flooring, plumbing fixtures and electrical supplies, which generate higher profit than other products, analysts said.