Lowe's Cos reported a 19 percent drop in quarterly profit as bad weather and the recession kept shoppers away, and the retailer forecast current-quarter earnings below Wall Street estimates, sending its shares down more than 11 percent.

The second-largest home improvement retailer behind Home Depot also trimmed its store expansion plans for North America, citing declining demand.

Lowe's, which now expects to open about 35 to 45 stores in the region in 2010, said it had also decided to abandon several projects.

In the second quarter ended on July 31, Lowes's said it had earned $759 million, or 51 cents a share, down from $938 million, or 63 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding a pretax charge of $48 million related mainly to the projects Lowe's no longer plans to pursue, profit was 54 cents a share, in line with the analysts' average forecast, according to Reuters Estimates.

Sales at the company, whose products range from gardening supplies and plumbing equipment to appliances and furniture, fell 4.6 percent to $13.8 billion. Sales at stores open at least a year, an important retail measure, fell 9.5 percent.

For the third quarter, Lowe's forecast earnings of 21 cents to 25 cents a share, while analysts had expected 27 cents.

The company said it expected total sales to fall 2 percent to 5 percent, with a same-store sales decline of 6 percent to 10 percent.

Lowe's shares were down 11.4 percent at $20.22 in trading before the opening bell.

(Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan in Bangalore; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)