Led by sales strength in every product category, including big-ticket items, home improvement retailer Lowe's recorded a 17.2 percent increase in sales in its fiscal second quarter, hitting $8.8 billion, up from $7.5 billion in the year-ago period. Comp-store sales jumped 6.9 percent in the second three months.
Net earnings of $597 million in the quarter ended August 1, were 27.8 percent higher than the $467 million reported in the same three months in 2002.
Lowe's also cited a strategic investment in inventory and an effective marketing program that allowed it to capitalize on a compressed spring selling season, for its increased second quarter sales and earnings.
"Encouragingly, sales for the appliance category remained strong despite competitive pressures," said Alan Rifkin, retail analyst at Lehman Brothers in New York.
For the six months, Lowe's sales climbed to $16 billion, up from $14 billion year-on-year. Earnings rose to $1 billion, compared with $813 million in the same six months in 2002.
During its second quarter, Lowe's opened 24 new stores, including two relocations, and closed one older, smaller store. It expects to open 38 stores in the third quarter and 130 stores in its current fiscal year.