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News Release

Lowe's Outlines Strong Financial Position, Strategic Investments and Financial Targets at 2011 Analyst and Investor Conference
Company Reiterates Guidance for Fiscal 2011

MOORESVILLE, N.C., Dec 06, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) --

Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) will discuss progress made on its mission to deliver better customer experiences and provide further details of its strategy designed to drive long-term sales growth, increased profitability and enhanced shareholder value when the company meets with analysts and investors today in Mooresville, North Carolina at its annual conference.

Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's chairman, president and CEO, said, "We are in the process of transforming Lowe's from a home improvement retailer to a home improvement company -- a company committed to delivering better customer experiences across the entire home improvement spectrum, by pulling together the best combination of possibilities, support and value for customers wherever and whenever they choose to engage. By enhancing our customer experience, we will drive long-term sales growth, increase profitability and enhance shareholder value.

"Moreover, our strong financial position and cash flow allow us to invest in this transformational effort. These investments are part of a disciplined capital allocation strategy, and we are committed to returning excess cash to shareholders through dividends and our share repurchase program," Niblock concluded.

During the investor conference, senior Lowe's executives will focus on the strategic investments and critical decisions made in 2011 that position the company for success and will update its long-term financial targets. Highlights of the presentations include:

  • Thomas J. Lamb, senior vice president of marketing and advertising: "We will lead customers through the journey of home improvement, from inspiration and planning to completion and enjoyment. We will do it, project after project, over the course of their home improvement lifetime, and we will know them well enough to anticipate their needs, helping them manage their homes as a neighbor, not merely as a supplier."
  • Robert J. Gfeller, Jr., executive vice president of merchandising: "While customers seek good prices, they also expect high quality and innovation. Currently, most customers do not perceive a high level of differentiation in the home improvement sector. This creates a great opportunity for Lowe's."
  • Rick D. Damron, executive vice president of store operations: "This was the year we made the tough decisions and the right investments to better position ourselves to execute well in the near-term and carry our company into the future. We strive to provide customers with a differentiated experience, one that is simple and optimized across selling channels."
  • Robert F. Hull, Jr., executive vice president and CFO: "Our goal is to drive return on invested capital by growing profits faster than sales and sales faster than assets. In doing this, we expect to generate strong free cash flow and return significant capital to shareholders."

Today, Lowe's also reiterated its prior sales and earnings guidance for the 2011 fiscal year, which was provided in its November 14, 2011 earnings release.

Lowe's Business Outlook

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

  • Total sales are expected to increase 2 to 3 percent, including the 53rd week
  • The 53rd week is expected to increase total sales by approximately 1.5 percent
  • The company expects comparable store sales to decline approximately 1 percent
  • The company expects to open approximately 25 stores in 2011
  • Earnings before interest and taxes as a percentage of sales (operating margin) are expected to decrease 80 to 90 basis points, which includes approximately 80 basis points impact from charges associated with store closings and discontinued projects
  • Depreciation expense is expected to be approximately $1.5 billion
  • Diluted earnings per share of $1.37 to $1.40 are expected for the fiscal year ending February 3, 2012, which includes approximately $0.20 per share impact from changes associated with store closings and discontinued projects

A webcast of this conference is scheduled for today (Tuesday, December 6) at 10:00 am ET. The webcast can be accessed by visiting Lowe's website at www.Lowes.com/investor and clicking on Lowe's 2011 Analyst & Investor Conference Webcast. A replay of the webcast will be available online shortly following the event and available until the 2012 Analyst and Investor Conference.

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, changes in the rate of housing turnover, 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) 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 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; and (viii) respond to unanticipated weather conditions that could adversely affect sales. 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 therein or updated version thereof, if any, 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 1,725 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.

SOURCE: Lowe's Companies, Inc.

Lowe's Companies, Inc.
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