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Lowe's Reports Record Third Quarter Earnings
-- Third Quarter Total Sales Increased 16.9 Percent -- -- Third Quarter Comparable Store Sales Increased 6.2 Percent --

MOORESVILLE, N.C., Nov 14, 2005 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW), the world's second largest home improvement retailer, today reported net earnings of $649 million for the quarter ended October 28, 2005, a 25.8 percent increase over the same period a year ago. Diluted earnings per share increased 24.6 percent to $0.81 from $0.65 in the third quarter of 2004. For the nine months ended October 28, 2005, net earnings grew 24.5 percent to $2.08 billion while diluted earnings per share increased 24.5 percent to $2.59.

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

Sales for the quarter increased 16.9 percent to $10.6 billion, up from $9.1 billion in the third quarter of 2004. Comparable store sales for the third quarter increased 6.2 percent. For the nine months ended October 28, 2005, sales increased 16.2 percent to $32.4 billion. Comparable store sales increased 5.5 percent in the first nine months of 2005.

"Our performance, highlighted by positive comparable store sales in all of our 20 product categories and 19 of our 21 geographic regions, is a clear indication that consumers continue to invest in products and projects to maintain, enhance and improve their homes even in light of concerns about the impact of rising gasoline and home heating costs," explained Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's chairman, president and CEO. "Continued investments in our business coupled with our culture of customer service have strengthened our competitive position, and we're confident Lowe's has the flexibility to adapt to changes in the marketplace to continue to deliver solid results."

"Our employees provided exceptional service in a quarter marked by the distractions of three major hurricanes," Niblock added. "Our focus on serving our customers' needs with innovative and differentiated products and services allows us to continue to capture market share in a fragmented home improvement industry."

During the quarter, Lowe's opened 33 new stores and temporarily closed one store impacted by hurricane Katrina. As of October 28, 2005, Lowe's operated 1,170 stores in 49 states representing 133.0 million square feet of retail selling space, a 13.1 percent increase over last year.

A conference call to discuss third quarter 2005 operating results is scheduled for today (Monday, November 14) at 9:00 a.m. EST. Please dial 888- 817-4020 (international callers dial 706-679-3245) 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 the icon for the Lowe's Third Quarter 2005 Earnings Conference Call Webcast. A replay of the call will be archived on Lowes.com/investor until February 26, 2006.

Lowe's Business Outlook

Fourth Quarter 2005 - a 14-week Quarter (comparisons to fourth quarter 2004 - a 13-week quarter)

- The company expects to open 63 new stores and reopen one store that was
       temporarily closed following hurricane Katrina reflecting square
       footage growth of approximately 13 percent
     - Total sales are expected to increase approximately 22 percent
     - The company expects to report a comparable store sales increase of 4 to
       6 percent (14 weeks vs. a comparable 14 weeks)
     - Operating margin (defined as gross margin less SG&A and depreciation)
       is expected to decline approximately 20 basis points
     - Store opening costs are expected to be approximately $50 million
     - Diluted earnings per share of $0.77 to $0.80 are expected
     - Lowe's fourth quarter ends on February 3, 2006 with operating results
       to be publicly released on Monday, February 27, 2006

Fiscal Year 2005 - a 53-week Year (comparisons to fiscal year 2004 - a 52- week year)

- The company expects to open 150 stores in 2005 reflecting total square
       footage growth of approximately 13 percent
     - Total sales are expected to increase 17 to 18 percent for the year
     - The company expects to report a comparable store sales increase of 5
       to 6 percent
     - Operating margin (defined as gross margin less SG&A and depreciation)
       is expected to increase approximately 40 basis points
     - Store opening costs are expected to be approximately $134 million
     - Diluted earnings per share of $3.37 to $3.40 are expected for the
       fiscal year ending February 3, 2006

    Disclosure Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This news release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning 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, rising fuel costs, 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. Additional information regarding the risks and uncertainties which may affect our operations and economic results can be found in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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 2004 sales of $36.5 billion, Lowe's Companies, Inc. is a FORTUNE(R) 50 company that serves approximately 11 million customers a week at more than 1,150 home improvement stores in 49 states. Based in Mooresville, N.C., the 59-year old company 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
                                                             October 29, 2004
                                           October 28, 2005     As Restated
    Current Earnings                       Amount   Percent  Amount   Percent

    Net sales                              $10,592   100.00   $9,064   100.00

    Cost of sales                            6,997    66.06    6,013    66.34

    Gross margin                             3,595    33.94    3,051    33.66

    Expenses:

    Selling, general and administrative      2,212    20.88    1,906    21.03

    Store opening costs                         35     0.33       32     0.35

    Depreciation                               257     2.43      232     2.56

    Interest                                    36     0.34       40     0.44

    Total expenses                           2,540    23.98    2,210    24.38

    Pre-tax earnings                         1,055     9.96      841     9.28

    Income tax provision                       406     3.83      325     3.58

    Net earnings                              $649     6.13     $516     5.70

    Weighted average shares outstanding -
     Basic                                     780               772

    Basic earnings per share                 $0.83             $0.67

    Weighted average shares outstanding -
     Diluted                                   804               802

    Diluted earnings per share               $0.81             $0.65

    Cash dividends per share                 $0.06             $0.04

    Retained Earnings
    Balance at beginning of period         $10,984            $8,672
    Net earnings                               649               516
    Cash dividends                             (47)              (31)
    Balance at end of period               $11,586            $9,157



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

                                                 Nine Months Ended
                                                           October 29, 2004
                                         October 28, 2005    As Restated
    Current Earnings                      Amount  Percent  Amount  Percent

    Net sales                             $32,435  100.00  $27,914  100.00

    Cost of sales                          21,388   65.94   18,605   66.65

    Gross margin                           11,047   34.06    9,309   33.35

    Expenses:

    Selling, general and administrative     6,711   20.69    5,728   20.52

    Store opening costs                        85    0.26       71    0.26

    Depreciation                              752    2.32      666    2.38

    Interest                                  122    0.38      133    0.48

    Total expenses                          7,670   23.65    6,598   23.64

    Pre-tax earnings                        3,377   10.41    2,711    9.71

    Income tax provision                    1,300    4.01    1,043    3.73

    Net earnings                           $2,077    6.40   $1,668    5.98

    Weighted average shares outstanding -
     Basic                                    776              778

    Basic earnings per share                $2.68            $2.14

    Weighted average shares outstanding -
     Diluted                                  804              809

    Diluted earnings per share              $2.59            $2.08

    Cash dividends per share                $0.16            $0.11

    Retained Earnings
    Balance at beginning of period         $9,634           $7,574
    Net earnings                            2,077            1,668
    Cash dividends                           (125)             (85)
    Balance at end of period              $11,586           $9,157



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

                                         (Unaudited)   (Unaudited)
                                          October 28,  October 29, January 28,
                                             2005         2004        2005
                                                       As Restated
    Assets

       Current assets:
         Cash and cash equivalents             $1,599        $461      $642
         Short-term investments                   710         189       171
         Accounts receivable - net                 23          35         9
         Merchandise inventory - net            6,613       5,864     5,982
         Deferred income taxes                     76         101        95
         Other assets                             177          96        75

         Total current assets                   9,198       6,746     6,974

         Property, less accumulated
          depreciation                         15,410      13,265    13,911
         Long-term investments                    296         153       146
         Other assets                             205         199       178

         Total assets                         $25,109     $20,363   $21,209

    Liabilities and shareholders' equity

       Current liabilities:
         Current maturities of long-term
          debt                                   $632         $31      $630
         Accounts payable                       3,198       2,596     2,687
         Accrued salaries and wages               369         281       386
         Other current liabilities              2,525       1,993     2,016

         Total current liabilities              6,724       4,901     5,719

         Long-term debt, excluding
          current maturities                    3,749       3,661     3,060
         Deferred income taxes                    745         699       736
         Other long-term liabilities              290         131       159

         Total liabilities                     11,508       9,392     9,674

       Shareholders' equity:
         Preferred stock - $5 par value,
          none issued                               -           -         -
         Common stock - $.50 par value;
          Shares issued and outstanding
          October 28, 2005        780
          October 29, 2004        772
          January 28, 2005        774             390         386       387
         Capital in excess of par               1,625       1,429     1,514
         Retained earnings                     11,586       9,157     9,634
         Accumulated other comprehensive
          loss                                      -          (1)        -

         Total shareholders' equity            13,601      10,971    11,535

         Total liabilities and
          shareholders' equity                $25,109     $20,363   $21,209



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

                                                       Nine Months Ended
                                                                 Oct. 29, 2004
                                               October 28, 2005    As Restated
    Cash Flows From Operating Activities:
      Net earnings                                  $2,077            $1,668
      Adjustments to reconcile net earnings
       to net cash provided by
       operating activities:
      Depreciation and amortization                    771               679
      Deferred income taxes                             28                66
      Loss on disposition/writedown of
       fixed and other assets                           23                41
      Stock-based compensation expense                  57                53
      Tax effect of stock options exercised             48                14
      Changes in operating assets and
       liabilities:
      Accounts receivable - net                        (14)              111
      Merchandise inventory - net                     (631)           (1,280)
      Other operating assets                          (102)               10
      Accounts payable                                 511               384
      Other operating liabilities                      592               382
    Net cash provided by operating
     activities                                      3,360             2,128

    Cash flows from investing activities:
      (Increase) decrease in short-term
       investments                                    (456)              629
      Purchases of long-term investments              (249)             (10
      Proceeds from sale/maturity of long-
       term investments                                 10                15
      Increase in other long-term assets               (34)              (15)
      Fixed assets acquired                         (2,277)           (2,116)
      Proceeds from the sale of fixed and
       other long-term assets                           44                69
     Net cash used in investing activities          (2,962)           (1,526)

    Cash flows from financing activities:
      Long-term debt borrowings                        995               -
      Debt issuance costs                               (8)              -
      Repayment of long-term debt                      (23)              (70)
      Proceeds from employee stock purchase
       plan                                             32                30
      Proceeds from stock options exercised            183                71
      Cash dividend payments                          (125)              (85)
      Repurchase of common stock                      (495)           (1,000)
      Net cash used in financing activities            559            (1,054)

    Net increase (decrease) in cash and
     cash equivalents                                  957              (452)
    Cash and cash equivalents, beginning
     of period                                         642               913
    Cash and cash equivalents, end of
     period                                         $1,599              $461

SOURCE Lowe's Companies, Inc.

Shareholders'-Analysts' Inquiries, Paul Taaffe, +1-704-758-2033, or Media,
Chris Ahearn, +1-704-758-2304, both of Lowe's Companies, Inc.
http://www.prnewswire.com