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Lowe's Reports First Quarter Sales and Earnings Results

MOORESVILLE, N.C., May 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW), the world's second-largest home improvement retailer, today reported net earnings of $607 million for the quarter ended May 2, 2008, a 17.9 percent decline versus the same period a year ago. Diluted earnings per share declined 14.6 percent to $0.41 from $0.48 in the first quarter of 2007.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20031205/LOWLOGO )

Sales for the quarter declined 1.3 percent to $12.0 billion, down from $12.2 billion in the first quarter of 2007. Comparable store sales for the first quarter declined 8.4 percent.

"The challenging sales environment we have been experiencing for the past six quarters continued into the first quarter of 2008, and increasing financial pressures on consumers resulted in top-line sales that fell below our plan," commented Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's chairman and CEO. "The generally poor economic outlook, including well-known housing pressures, rising food and fuel prices and a more negative employment picture eroded consumer confidence and impacted discretionary purchases for the home.

"With our offering of great products and exceptional service, Lowe's continued to gain market share in the quarter, and diligent expense control helped us achieve respectable earnings in spite of the headwinds facing the industry," Niblock continued. "Fiscal 2008 will be a challenging year on many fronts, but we remain focused on what we can control and will continue managing for long-term success and pursuing opportunities as they arise in the current environment."

During the quarter, Lowe's opened 20 new stores. As of May 2, 2008, Lowe's operated 1,554 stores in the United States and Canada representing 176.4 million square feet of retail selling space, an 11.1 percent increase over last year.

A conference call to discuss first quarter 2008 operating results is scheduled for today (Monday, May 19) at 9:00 am 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 www.Lowes.com/investor and clicking on Lowe's First Quarter 2008 Earnings Conference Call Webcast. A replay of the call will be archived on Lowes.com until August 17, 2008.


    Lowe's Business Outlook

    Second Quarter 2008 (comparisons to second quarter 2007)
    -- The company expects to open approximately 23 new stores reflecting
       square footage growth of approximately 11 percent
    -- Total sales are expected to increase approximately 1 percent
    -- The company expects comparable store sales to decline 6 to 8 percent
    -- Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) margin is expected to decline
       approximately 190 basis points driven by payroll, fixed costs,
       depreciation and gross margin
    -- Store opening costs are expected to be approximately $22 million
    -- Diluted earnings per share of $0.54 to $0.59 are expected
    -- Lowe's second quarter ends on August 1, 2008 with operating results to
       be publicly released on Monday, August 18, 2008

    Fiscal Year 2008 (comparisons to fiscal year 2007)
    -- The company expects to open approximately 120 stores in 2008 reflecting
       total square footage growth of 7 to 8 percent
    -- Total sales are expected to increase approximately 1 percent
    -- The company expects comparable store sales to decline 6 to 7 percent
    -- Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) margin is expected to decline
       approximately 180 basis points
    -- Store opening costs are expected to be approximately $106 million
    -- Diluted earnings per share of $1.45 to $1.55 are expected for the
       fiscal year ending January 30, 2009


    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, the housing market, the home improvement industry, 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, higher fuel and other energy costs, slower growth in personal income, declining housing turnover, the availability of mortgage financing, inflation or deflation of commodity prices and other factors which can negatively affect our customers, as well as our ability to: (i) respond to adverse trends in the housing industry 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 successfully develop new sites for store development particularly in major metropolitan markets; (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 developments; and (viii) respond to unanticipated weather conditions that could adversely affect sales. 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 description of material changes, if any, in those "Risk Factors" included in our 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 2007 sales of $48.3 billion, Lowe's Companies, Inc. is a FORTUNE(R) 50 company that serves approximately 14 million customers a week at more than 1,550 home improvement stores in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1946 and based in Mooresville, N.C., Lowe's is the second-largest home improvement retailer in the world. For more information, visit Lowes.com.



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

                                              Three Months Ended
                                       May 2, 2008          May 4, 2007
    Current Earnings                Amount   Percent     Amount   Percent

    Net sales                      $12,009    100.00    $12,172    100.00

    Cost of sales                    7,843     65.31      7,913     65.01

    Gross margin                     4,166     34.69      4,259     34.99

    Expenses:

    Selling, general and
     administrative                  2,725     22.69      2,685     22.06

    Store opening costs                 18      0.15         12      0.10

    Depreciation                       375      3.12        323      2.65

    Interest - net                      76      0.63         47      0.39

    Total expenses                   3,194     26.59      3,067     25.20

    Pre-tax earnings                   972      8.10      1,192      9.79

    Income tax provision               365      3.04        453      3.72

    Net earnings                      $607      5.06       $739      6.07


    Weighted average shares
     outstanding - basic             1,454                1,510

    Basic earnings per share         $0.42                $0.49

    Weighted average shares
     outstanding - diluted           1,480                1,540

    Diluted earnings per share       $0.41                $0.48

    Cash dividends per share         $0.08                $0.05


    Retained Earnings

    Balance at beginning of
     period                        $15,345              $14,860
    Cumulative effect
     adjustment (1)                      -                   (8)
    Net earnings                       607                  739
    Cash dividends                    (117)                 (75)
    Share repurchases                    -                 (548)
    Balance at end of period       $15,835              $14,968


    (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 2,      May 4,  February 1,
                                                2008       2007       2008
    Assets

      Current assets:
         Cash and cash equivalents              $913       $629       $281
         Short-term investments                  252        571        249
         Merchandise inventory - net           8,438      8,501      7,611
         Deferred income taxes - net             259        201        247
         Other current assets                    253        155        298

         Total current assets                 10,115     10,057      8,686

         Property, less accumulated
          depreciation                        21,641     19,187     21,361
         Long-term investments                   580        406        509
         Other assets                            318        319        313

         Total assets                        $32,654    $29,969    $30,869

    Liabilities and shareholders' equity

      Current liabilities:
         Short-term borrowings                  $147         $-     $1,064
         Current maturities of long-term debt     34         92         40
         Accounts payable                      5,345      5,211      3,713
         Accrued compensation and employee
          benefits                               481        451        467
         Self-insurance liabilities              685        661        671
         Deferred revenue                        893        851        717
         Other current liabilities             1,388      1,355      1,079

         Total current liabilities             8,973      8,621      7,751

         Long-term debt, excluding current
          maturities                           5,576      4,306      5,576
         Deferred income taxes - net             699        657        670
         Other liabilities                       787        659        774

         Total liabilities                    16,035     14,243     14,771

      Shareholders' equity:
         Preferred stock - $5 par value,
          none issued                              -          -          -
         Common stock - $.50 par value;
           Shares issued and outstanding
           May 2, 2008               1,462
           May 4, 2007               1,506
           February 1, 2008          1,458       731        753        729
       Capital in excess of par value             48          -         16
       Retained earnings                      15,835     14,968     15,345
       Accumulated other comprehensive
        income                                     5          5          8

       Total shareholders' equity             16,619     15,726     16,098

       Total liabilities and
        shareholders' equity                 $32,654    $29,969    $30,869



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

                                                       Three Months Ended
                                                 May 2, 2008       May 4, 2007
    Cash flows from operating activities:
      Net earnings                                   $607              $739
         Adjustments to reconcile net earnings
          to net cash provided by operating
          activities:
         Depreciation and amortization                404               345
         Deferred income taxes                         17                40
         Loss on disposition/writedown of fixed
          and other assets                             21                 4
         Share-based payment expense                   28                22
         Changes in operating assets and
          liabilities:
            Merchandise inventory - net              (828)           (1,357)
            Other operating assets                     42                63
            Accounts payable                        1,633             1,687
            Other operating liabilities               614               596
      Net cash provided by operating activities     2,538             2,139

    Cash flows from investing activities:
      Purchases of short-term investments             (63)             (257)
      Proceeds from sale/maturity of short-term
       investments                                     86               117
      Purchases of long-term investments             (326)             (244)
      Proceeds from sale/maturity of long-term
       investments                                    224                 5
      Increase in other long-term assets                -               (13)
      Fixed assets acquired                          (805)             (707)
      Proceeds from the sale of fixed and other
       long-term assets                                 4                14
      Net cash used in investing activities          (880)           (1,085)

    Cash flows from financing activities:
      Net decrease in short-term borrowings          (915)              (23)
      Proceeds from issuance of long-term debt          8                 3
      Repayment of long-term debt                     (13)              (16)
      Proceeds from issuance of common stock
       from stock options exercised                    10                21
      Cash dividend payments                         (117)              (75)
      Repurchase of common stock                        -              (700)
      Excess tax benefits of share-based payments       1                 1
      Net cash used in financing activities        (1,026)             (789)

    Net increase in cash and cash equivalents         632               265
    Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of
     period                                           281               364
    Cash and cash equivalents, end of period         $913              $629

SOURCE  Lowe's Companies, Inc.
    -0-                             05/19/2008
    /CONTACT:  Shareholders' & Analysts' Inquiries, Robbin Moore-Randolph,
+1-704-758-3579, or Media Inquiries, Chris Ahearn, +1-704-758-2304, both of
Lowe's Companies, Inc./
    /Photo:  NewsCom:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20031205/LOWLOGO
             AP Archive:  http://photoarchive.ap.org
             PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com/
    /Web site:  http://www.Lowes.com
                http://www.Lowes.com/investor /
    (LOW)

CO:  Lowe's Companies, Inc.
ST:  North Carolina
IN:  REA RLT CST
SU:  ERN CCA ERP

TP-GF
-- CLM028 --
7559 05/19/2008 07:00 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com