Mooresville, N.C. – Lowe’s reported a double-digit drop in earnings and flat sales for its fiscal first quarter, ended May 2, as the slowdown in housing and higher fuel and food costs take their toll.
Net earnings were $607 million for the quarter, a 17.9 percent decline versus the same period a year ago when net earnings were $739 million. Sales for the quarter declined 1.3 percent to $12.0 billion, down from $12.2 billion in the first quarter of 2007. Comparable store sales for the first quarter declined 8.4 percent.
“The challenging sales environment we have been experiencing for the past six quarters continued into the first quarter of 2008, and increasing financial pressures on consumers resulted in top-line sales that fell below our plan," commented Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's chairman and CEO. “The generally poor economic outlook, including well-known housing pressures, rising food and fuel prices and a more negative employment picture eroded consumer confidence and impacted discretionary purchases for the home.”
Niblock also said in a prepared statement, “With our offering of great products and exceptional service, Lowe's continued to gain market share in the quarter, and diligent expense control helped us achieve respectable earnings in spite of the headwinds facing the industry. Fiscal 2008 will be a challenging year on many fronts, but we remain focused on what we can control and will continue managing for long-term success and pursuing opportunities as they arise in the current environment.”
During the quarter, Lowe's opened 20 new stores. As of May 2 Lowe's operated 1,554 stores in the United States and Canada representing 176.4 million square feet of retail selling space, an 11.1 percent increase over last year.