Lowe's Sales, Profits Up

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Wilkesboro, N.C. - Led by strong across the board sales, including big-ticket items, home improvement retailer Lowe's recorded a 17.2 percent sales increase in its fiscal second quarter, hitting $8.8 billion, up from $7.5 billion in the year-ago period.

Net earnings of $597 million in the quarter ended Aug. 1 were 27.8 percent higher than the $467 million reported in the same three months in 2002. Comparable-store sales jumped 6.9 percent in the second three months.

'As we had expected, Americans' passion for home improvement projects surged as the weather improved across most of the U.S.,' said Robert Tillman, Lowe's chairman/CEO. 'The continuing success of our internal sales and performance initiatives, as well as signs of an improving macroeconomic climate, keep us optimistic for the back half of the year.'

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.

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.

Looking ahead, the retailer expects about a 16 percent to 17 percent increase in total sales in the third quarter, compared with the same three months a year ago. Comps are expected to increase 5 percent to 6 percent in the same period.

For the 12 months, Lowe's anticipates about a 16 percent increase in year over year sales, with comps climbing 4 percent to 5 percent.

During its second quarter, Lowe's opened 24 new stores, including two relocations, and closed one older, smaller store. At the end of the quarter, the retailer operated 896 stores. It expects to open 38 stores in the third quarter and 130 stores in its current fiscal year.


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