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Despite a number of "weather-driven challenges," home improvement retailer Lowe's reported a 20.1 percent jump in sales for its fiscal fourth quarter, hitting $7.3 billion, up from $6 billion in the year-ago period. Comp-store sales climbed 7.3 percent.
Lowe's recorded net earnings of $407 million in its fourth quarter, ended Jan. 30, a 27.6 percent increase over the $319 million that came in the same three months a year ago. Gross margin rose a fraction of 1 percent, to 32 percent.
Calling its fiscal year "outstanding," on top of a "phenomenal performance in 2002," Lowe's president Robert Niblock said, "We continue to see strong results from our metro-market expansion."
For the 12 months, Lowe's increased sales 18.1 percent, reaching $30.8 billion, compared with the $26.1 billion reported a year earlier. Comps rose 6.7 percent.
Fiscal year net earnings grew 27.6 percent, to $1.9 billion, up from $1.5 billion in the same period the previous year. Gross margin rose less than a percentage point, to a bit over 31 percent.
In the first quarter of this fiscal year, Lowe's expects to in-crease sales 18 percent to 19 percent year-on-year, accompanied by positive comps of 6 percent to 7 percent.
In the current fiscal 12 months, Lowe's will open 140 stores, with total sales climbing 17 percent and comps 5 percent to 6 percent year-over-year.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.