Lowe's Posts Lower Earnings, Higher Sales

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Mooresville, N.C. - Lowe's reported lower net earnings but higher net sales for the quarter ending April 30.

Net earnings were $489 million for the quarter, a 2.7 percent decrease from the prior year's fiscal first quarter.

Sales for the quarter increased 4.7 percent to $12.4 billion, up from $11.8 billion in fiscal first quarter of last year. Comp-store sales for the first quarter increased 2.4 percent.

"Consumers are showing signs of reengagement in home improvement, including discretionary projects and purchases of bigger-ticket products, which had taken a back seat during the worst of the economic downturn," commented Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's chairman and CEO. "This, combined with the government stimulus programs and favorable weather in March and April, drove solid quarterly sales and earnings that exceeded our guidance.

"While we are optimistic we will experience solid demand through the balance of the year, we view 2010 as a year of transition for our industry. We remain confident that our commitment to providing excellent customer service, combined with great merchandising, will drive profitable sales and market share growth."

During the quarter, Lowe's opened 11 stores. As of April 30, Lowe's operated 1,721 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico, representing 194.3 million square feet of retail selling space, a 2.9 percent increase over last year.

In the second quarter Lowe's expects to open approximately four new stores, reflecting square footage growth of approximately 2 percent. Total sales are expected to increase 5 percent to 7 percent, and the chain expects comp-store sales to increase 2 percent to 4 percent.

Earnings before interest and taxes as a percentage of sales (operating margin) is expected to increase approximately 40 basis points.

Depreciation expense is expected to be approximately $400 million.


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