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News Release

Lowe's Reports First Quarter Sales and Earnings Results

MOORESVILLE, N.C., May 16, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) --

Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW), the world's second largest home improvement retailer, today reported net earnings of $461 million for the quarter ended April 29, 2011, a 5.7 percent decrease from the same period a year ago. Diluted earnings per share of $0.34 were flat compared to the first quarter of 2010.

Sales for the quarter decreased 1.6 percent to $12.2 billion from $12.4 billion in the first quarter of 2010. Comparable store sales for the first quarter decreased 3.3 percent.

"We delivered earnings per share within our guidance for the quarter, despite lower than expected sales," commented Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's chairman and CEO. "During the quarter, we faced ongoing economic pressures, unfavorable weather conditions and tough comparisons to last year's government stimulus programs. While we are focused on competing effectively in the current environment, we are also working diligently on our commitment to deliver better customer experiences. We are building momentum in 2011 behind our transformation from a home improvement retailer to a home improvement company."

During the quarter, Lowe's opened four stores, including one relocation, and closed one store that was damaged by a tornado. As of April 29, 2011, Lowe's operated 1,751 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico representing 197.3 million square feet of retail selling space, a 1.6 percent increase over last year.

A conference call to discuss first quarter 2011 operating results is scheduled for today (Monday, May 16) at 9:00 am ET. The conference call will be available through a webcast and can be accessed by visiting Lowe's website at www.Lowes.com/investor and clicking on Lowe's First Quarter 2011 Earnings Conference Call Webcast. A replay of the call will be archived on Lowes.com until August 14, 2011.

Lowe's Business Outlook

Second Quarter 2011 (comparisons to second quarter 2010)

  • Total sales are expected to increase approximately 4 percent
  • The company expects comparable store sales to increase approximately 2 percent
  • The company expects square footage growth of approximately 1.5 percent
  • Earnings before interest and taxes as a percentage of sales (operating margin) are expected to increase 20 to 30 basis points
  • Depreciation expense is expected to be approximately $370 million
  • Diluted earnings per share of $0.65 to $0.69 are expected
  • Lowe's second quarter ends on July 29, 2011 with operating results to be publicly released on Monday, August 15, 2011

Fiscal Year 2011 - a 53-week Year (comparisons to fiscal year 2010 - a 52-week year)

  • Total sales are expected to increase approximately 4 percent, including the 53rd week
  • The 53rd week is expected to increase total sales by approximately 1.4 percent
  • The company expects comparable store sales to increase 0 to 1 percent
  • The company expects to open approximately 25 stores in 2011 reflecting total square footage growth of approximately 1.3 percent
  • Earnings before interest and taxes as a percentage of sales (operating margin) are expected to increase approximately 10 basis points
  • Depreciation expense is expected to be approximately $1.47 billion
  • Diluted earnings per share of $1.56 to $1.64 are expected for the fiscal year ending February 3, 2012

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, share repurchases 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 continued high rates of unemployment, interest rate and currency fluctuations, higher fuel and other energy costs, slower growth in personal income, changes in consumer spending, the availability and increasing regulation of consumer credit and 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, such as the psychological effects of falling home prices and in the level of repairs, remodeling, and additions to existing homes, as well as a general reduction in commercial building activity; (ii) maintain critical information systems; (iii) ensure that customer facing technology systems perform efficiently and reliably; (iv) secure or develop and implement sufficiently robust new technologies to deliver business process solutions in an efficient manner; (v) attract, train, and retain highly-qualified associates who can respond to and embrace changes in our business model; (vi) respond to fluctuations in the prices and availability of services, supplies, and products; (vii) respond to the growth and impact of competition; (viii) differentiate ourselves from competitors based upon our relationships with suppliers of brand name products; (ix) address changes in existing or new laws or regulations that affect consumer credit, employment/labor, trade, product safety, transportation/logistics, energy costs, health care, tax or environmental issues; (x) respond to disruption of the domestic or international supply chain caused by transportation disruption, vendor disagreements, vendor failures, host country instability, trade tariffs, or international terrorism; (xi) adequately protect sensitive customer, employee or vendor information; (xii) respond to the unique challenges associated with international expansion, and (xiii) prevent material product liability associated with manufacturing or packaging defects. In addition, we could experience additional impairment losses if the actual results of our operating stores are not consistent with the assumptions and judgments we have made in estimating future cash flows and determining asset fair values. For more information about these and other risks and uncertainties that we are exposed to, you should read the "Risk Factors" and "Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates" included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") and the description of material changes, if any, therein included in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.

The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are based upon data available as of the date of this release or other specified date and speak only as of such date. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to us or any person acting on our behalf about any of the matters covered in this release are qualified by these cautionary statements and in the "Risk Factors" included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K to the SEC and the description of material changes, if any, therein included in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. We expressly disclaim any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, change in circumstances, future events, or otherwise.

With fiscal year 2010 sales of $48.8 billion, Lowe's Companies, Inc. is a FORTUNE(R) 50 company that serves approximately 15 million customers a week at more than 1,750 home improvement stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico. 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
April 29, 2011 April 30, 2010
Current Earnings Amount Percent Amount Percent
Net sales $ 12,185 100.00 $ 12,388 100.00
Cost of sales 7,866 64.56 8,030 64.82
Gross margin 4,319 35.44 4,358 35.18
Expenses:
Selling, general and administrative 3,120 25.60 3,093 24.98
Depreciation 371 3.05 397 3.20
Interest - net 88 0.72 82 0.66
Total expenses 3,579 29.37 3,572 28.84
Pre-tax earnings 740 6.07 786 6.34
Income tax provision 279 2.28 297 2.39
Net earnings $ 461 3.79 $ 489 3.95
Weighted average common shares outstanding - basic 1,324 1,438
Basic earnings per common share (1) $ 0.35 $ 0.34
Weighted average common shares outstanding - diluted 1,328 1,441
Diluted earnings per common share (1) $ 0.34 $ 0.34
Cash dividends per share $ 0.11 $ 0.09
Retained Earnings
Balance at beginning of period $ 17,371 $ 18,307
Net earnings 461 489
Cash dividends (145) (130)
Share repurchases (972) (420)
Balance at end of period $ 16,715 $ 18,246

(1)Under the two-class method, earnings per share is calculated using net earnings allocable to common shares, which is derived by reducing net earnings by the earnings allocable to participating securities. Net earnings allocable to common shares used in the basic and diluted earnings per share calculation were $458 million for the three months ended April 29, 2011 and $485 million for the three months ended April 30, 2010.

Lowe's Companies, Inc.
Consolidated Balance Sheets
In Millions, Except Par Value Data
(Unaudited) (Unaudited)
April 29, 2011 April 30, 2010 January 28, 2011
Assets
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents $ 1,496 $ 2,677 $ 652
Short-term investments 345 675 471
Merchandise inventory - net 9,661 9,899 8,321
Deferred income taxes - net 232 202 193
Other current assets 239 242 330
Total current assets 11,973 13,695 9,967
Property, less accumulated depreciation 22,060 22,379 22,089
Long-term investments 1,209 832 1,008
Other assets 642 508 635
Total assets $ 35,884 $ 37,414 $ 33,699
Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity
Current liabilities:
Current maturities of long-term debt $ 38 $ 536 $ 36
Accounts payable 6,694 7,062 4,351
Accrued compensation and employee benefits 557 594 667
Deferred revenue 970 901 707
Other current liabilities 1,662 1,788 1,358
Total current liabilities 9,921 10,881 7,119
Long-term debt, excluding current maturities 6,538 5,531 6,537
Deferred income taxes - net 498 521 467
Deferred revenue - extended protection plan 650 576 631
Other liabilities 818 886 833
Total liabilities 18,425 18,395 15,587
Shareholders' equity:
Preferred stock - $5 par value, none issued - - -
Common stock - $.50 par value;
Shares issued and outstanding
April 29, 2011 1,318
April 30, 2010 1,443
January 28, 2011 1,354 659 722 677
Capital in excess of par value - 6 11
Retained earnings 16,715 18,246 17,371
Accumulated other comprehensive income 85 45 53
Total shareholders' equity 17,459 19,019 18,112
Total liabilities and shareholders' equity $ 35,884 $ 37,414 $ 33,699
Lowe's Companies, Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (Unaudited)
In Millions
Three Months Ended
April 29, 2011 April 30, 2010
Cash flows from operating activities:
Net earnings $ 461 $ 489
Adjustments to reconcile net earnings to net cash provided by
operating activities:
Depreciation and amortization 397 424
Deferred income taxes (43 ) (82 )
Loss on property and other assets - net 9 1
Share-based payment expense 30 26
Net changes in operating assets and liabilities:
Merchandise inventory - net (1,329 ) (1,644 )
Other operating assets 106 (35 )
Accounts payable 2,339 2,773
Other operating liabilities 453 784
Net cash provided by operating activities 2,423 2,736
Cash flows from investing activities:
Purchases of investments (627 ) (1,171 )
Proceeds from sale/maturity of investments 554 366
Increase in other long-term assets (30 ) (1 )
Property acquired (313 ) (283 )
Proceeds from sale of property and other long-term assets 5 5
Net cash used in investing activities (411 ) (1,084 )
Cash flows from financing activities:
Net proceeds from issuance of long-term debt - 992
Repayment of long-term debt (9 ) (25 )
Proceeds from issuance of common stock under share-based payment plans 15 20
Cash dividend payments (149 ) (131 )
Repurchase of common stock (1,031 ) (465 )
Excess tax benefits of share-based payments 3 -
Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities (1,171 ) 391
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash 3 2
Net increase in cash and cash equivalents 844 2,045
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period 652 632
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period $ 1,496 $ 2,677

SOURCE: Lowe's Companies, Inc.

Lowe's
Shareholders'/Analysts' Inquiries:
Tiffany Mason, 704-758-2033
or
Media Inquiries:
Chris Ahearn, 704-758-2304