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Lowe's Reports First Quarter Sales and Earnings Results

MOORESVILLE, N.C., May 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW), the world's second-largest home improvement retailer, today reported net earnings of $739 million for the quarter ended May 4, 2007, a 12.1 percent decline versus the same period a year ago. Diluted earnings per share declined 9.4 percent to $0.48 from $0.53 in the first quarter of 2006.

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Sales for the quarter increased 2.1% percent to $12.2 billion, up from $11.9 billion in the first quarter of 2006. Comparable store sales for the first quarter declined 6.3 percent.

"Multiple factors, including a difficult housing market in many areas, tough comparisons to hurricane rebuilding efforts, and significant lumber and plywood price deflation, continued to create a challenging sales environment in the first quarter," commented Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's chairman and CEO. "Those anticipated factors were compounded by mixed weather during the quarter. Mild temperatures and solid sales in March were more than offset by record cold and wet weather across much of the U.S. during the first two weeks of April. While the weather improved in the second half of the month, the drag created by the first two weeks substantially contributed to our sales shortfall to plan.

"We continued to gain market share during the quarter despite the challenging sales environment and credit that success to our commitment to providing great stores and great products as well as our employees' commitment to customer service. Easier comparisons in the back half of the year give us continued confidence that our sales performance will improve as the year progresses."

During the quarter, Lowe's opened 15 new stores. As of May 4, 2007, Lowe's operated 1,400 stores in 49 states representing 158.7 million square feet of retail selling space, an 11.2 percent increase over last year. A conference call to discuss first quarter 2007 operating results is scheduled for today (Monday, May 21) at 9:00 a.m. EDT. Please dial 888-817-4020 (international callers dial 706-679-8762) to participate. A webcast of the call will take place simultaneously and can be accessed by visiting Lowe's website at and clicking on Lowe's First Quarter 2007 Earnings Conference Call Webcast. A replay of the call will be archived on until August 19, 2007.

    Lowe's Business Outlook
    Second Quarter 2007 (comparisons to second quarter 2006)
    -- The company expects to open 26 new stores reflecting square footage
       growth of approximately 11 percent
    -- Total sales are expected to increase 6 to 7 percent
    -- The company expects to report a comparable store sales decline of 1 to
       3 percent
    -- Operating margin (defined as gross margin less SG&A and depreciation)
       is expected to decline approximately 40 basis points
    -- Store opening costs are expected to be approximately $35 million
    -- Diluted earnings per share of $0.62 to $0.64 are expected
    -- Lowe's second quarter ends on August 3, 2007 with operating results to
       be publicly released on Monday, August 20, 2007

    Fiscal Year 2007 (comparisons to fiscal year 2006)
    -- The company expects to open 150 to 160 stores in 2007 reflecting total
       square footage growth of approximately 11 percent
    -- Total sales are expected to increase approximately 7 percent
    -- The company expects comparable store sales to decline 1 to 2 percent
    -- Operating margin (defined as gross margin less SG&A and depreciation)
       is expected to decline 70 to 80 basis points
    -- Store opening costs are expected to be $140 to $145 million
    -- Diluted earnings per share of $1.99 to $2.03 are expected for the
       fiscal year ending February 1, 2008

    Disclosure Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This news release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the "Act"). Statements of the company's expectations for sales growth, comparable store sales, earnings and performance, capital expenditures, store openings, demand for services, and any statement of an assumption underlying any of the foregoing, constitute "forward-looking statements" under the Act. Although the company believes that the expectations, opinions, projections, and comments reflected in its forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such statements will prove to be correct. A wide- variety of potential risks, uncertainties, and other factors could materially affect our ability to achieve the results expressed or implied by our forward- looking statements including, but not limited to, changes in general economic conditions, such as interest rate and currency fluctuations, fuel and other energy costs, slower growth in personal income and other factors which can negatively affect our customers as well as our ability to: (i) respond to decreases in the number of new housing starts and the level of repairs, remodeling, and additions to existing homes, as well as general reduction in commercial building activity; (ii) secure, develop, and otherwise implement new technologies and processes designed to enhance our efficiency and competitiveness; (iii) attract, train, and retain highly-qualified associates; (iv) locate, secure, and develop new sites for store development; (v) respond to fluctuations in the prices and availability of services, supplies, and products; (vi) respond to the growth and impact of competition; (vii) address legal and regulatory matters; and (viii) respond to unanticipated weather conditions. For more information about these and other risks and uncertainties that we are exposed to, you should read the "Risk Factors" included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the descriptions of any material changes in those "Risk Factors" included in our subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.

The forward-looking statements contained in this news release speak only as of the date of this release and the company does not assume any obligation to update any such statements.

With fiscal year 2006 sales of $46.9 billion, Lowe's Companies, Inc. is a FORTUNE(R) 50 company that serves approximately 13 million customers a week at more than 1,400 home improvement stores in 49 states. Based in Mooresville, N.C., the 60-year old company is the second-largest home improvement retailer in the world. For more information, visit

    Lowe's Companies, Inc.
    Consolidated Statements of Current and Retained Earnings (Unaudited)
    In Millions, Except Per Share Data

                                                   Three Months Ended
                                             May 4, 2007        May 5, 2006
    Current Earnings                       Amount  Percent    Amount  Percent

    Net sales                             $12,172   100.00   $11,921   100.00

    Cost of sales                           7,913    65.01     7,752    65.03

    Gross margin                            4,259    34.99     4,169    34.97


    Selling, general and administrative     2,685    22.06     2,467    20.69

    Store opening costs                        12     0.10        25     0.21

    Depreciation                              323     2.65       274     2.30

    Interest - net                             47     0.39        35     0.30

    Total expenses                          3,067    25.20     2,801    23.50

    Pre-tax earnings                        1,192     9.79     1,368    11.47

    Income tax provision                      453     3.72       527     4.41

    Net earnings                             $739     6.07      $841     7.06

    Weighted average shares outstanding -
     basic                                  1,510              1,557

    Basic earnings per share                $0.49              $0.54

    Weighted average shares outstanding -
     diluted                                1,540              1,590

    Diluted earnings per share              $0.48              $0.53

    Cash dividends per share                $0.05              $0.03

    Retained Earnings

    Balance at beginning of period        $14,860            $12,191
    Cumulative effect adjustment (1)           (8)                 -
    Net earnings                              739                841
    Cash dividends                            (75)               (47)
    Share repurchases                        (548)                 -
    Balance at end of period              $14,968            $12,985

    (1) The Company adopted FIN 48, Accounting for Uncertainty in Income
        Taxes, effective February 3, 2007.

    Lowe's Companies, Inc.
    Consolidated Balance Sheets
    In Millions, Except Par Value Data

                                         (Unaudited)  (Unaudited)

                                             May 4,      May 5,    February 2,
                                              2007        2006        2007

       Current assets:
         Cash and cash equivalents            $629      $1,140        $364
         Short-term investments                571         517         432
         Merchandise inventory - net         8,501       7,817       7,144
         Deferred income taxes - net           201         175         161
         Other current assets                  155         139         213

         Total current assets               10,057       9,788       8,314

         Property, less accumulated
          depreciation                      19,187      16,760      18,971
         Long-term investments                 406         277         165
         Other assets                          319         203         317

         Total assets                      $29,969     $27,028     $27,767

    Liabilities and shareholders' equity

       Current liabilities:
         Short-term borrowings             $     -     $     -     $    23
         Current maturities of long-term
          debt                                  92          33          88
         Accounts payable                    5,211       4,553       3,524
         Accrued salaries and wages            377         377         425
         Self-insurance liabilities            661         613         650
         Deferred revenue                      851         853         731
         Other current liabilities           1,429       1,551       1,098

         Total current liabilities           8,621       7,980       6,539

         Long-term debt, excluding current
          maturities                         4,306       3,446       4,325
         Deferred income taxes - net           657         717         735
         Other long-term liabilities           659         304         443

         Total liabilities                  14,243      12,447      12,042

       Shareholders' equity:
         Preferred stock - $5 par value,
          none issued                            -           -           -
         Common stock - $.50 par value;
           Shares issued and outstanding
           May 4, 2007         1,506
           May 5, 2006         1,555
           February 2, 2007    1,525           753         778         762
         Capital in excess of par value          -         816         102
         Retained earnings                  14,968      12,985      14,860
         Accumulated other comprehensive
          income                                 5           2           1

         Total shareholders' equity         15,726      14,581      15,725

         Total liabilities and
          shareholders' equity             $29,969     $27,028     $27,767

    Lowe's Companies, Inc.
    Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (Unaudited)
    In Millions

                                                       Three Months Ended

                                                 May 4, 2007       May 5, 2006
    Cash flows from operating activities:
      Net earnings                                    $739              $841
        Adjustments to reconcile net earnings
         to net cash provided by operating
          Depreciation and amortization                345               290
          Deferred income taxes                         37               (38)
          Loss on disposition/writedown of
           fixed and other assets                        4                 8
          Share-based payment expense                   22                11
          Changes in operating assets and
            Merchandise inventory - net             (1,357)           (1,182)
            Other operating assets                      63               (17)
            Accounts payable                         1,687             1,721
            Other operating liabilities                599               476
      Net cash provided by operating
       activities                                    2,139             2,110

    Cash flows from investing activities:
      Purchases of short-term investments             (257)             (146)
      Proceeds from sale/maturity of short-
       term investments                                117               143
      Purchases of long-term investments              (244)              (72)
      Proceeds from sale/maturity of long-
       term investments                                  5                26
      Increase in other long-term assets               (13)               (3)
      Fixed assets acquired                           (707)             (732)
      Proceeds from the sale of fixed and
       other long-term assets                           14                 9
      Net cash used in investing activities         (1,085)             (775)

      Cash flows from financing activities:
      Net decrease in short-term borrowings            (23)                -
      Proceeds from issuance of long-term
       debt                                              3                 -
      Repayment of long-term debt                      (16)               (7)
      Proceeds from issuance of common
       stock from stock options exercised               21                33
      Cash dividend payments                           (75)              (47)
      Repurchase of common stock                      (700)             (600)
      Excess tax benefits of share-based
       payments                                          1                 3
      Net cash used in financing activities           (789)             (618)

    Net increase in cash and cash
     equivalents                                       265               717
    Cash and cash equivalents, beginning
     of period                                         364               423
    Cash and cash equivalents, end of
     period                                           $629            $1,140
SOURCE  Lowe's Companies, Inc.
    -0-                             05/21/2007
    /CONTACT:  Shareholders', Analysts' Inquiries, Robbin Moore-Randolph,
+1-704-758-3579, or Media Inquiries, Karen Cobb, +1-704-758-3504, both of
Lowe's Companies, Inc./
    /Photo:  NewsCom:
              AP Archive:
              PRN Photo Desk,
    /Web site:

CO:  Lowe's Companies, Inc.
ST:  North Carolina

-- CLM030 --
0060 05/21/2007 07:00 EDT