Lowe's Cos Inc , the second-largest U.S. home improvement chain, posted a 30 percent decline in quarterly profit as consumers put off big renovations and a U.S. housing market recovery takes longer to materialize.

Lowe's said it expected sales in stores open more than one year to slide by 2 percent to 6 percent in the current quarter. But it noted that it was starting to see optimistic signs in some of the hardest-hit housing markets.

Net profit fell to $344 million, or 23 cents per share, in the third quarter ended on October 30 from $488 million, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 24 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales fell 3 percent to $11.37 billion, slightly better than expectations of $11.28 billion.

Lowe's, like bigger rival Home Depot Inc , has suffered badly in the U.S. housing slump. In September, Lowe's disappointed investors with a cautious forecast for its next fiscal year and said future growth would be fueled by expansion in underserved markets and overseas.

Home Depot is due to report results on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Franklin Paul; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)