|Lowe’s Presents Bright Outlook At Annual Meeting Of Shareholders|
Shareholders Re-elect Three to Board of Directors
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—At its annual meeting of shareholders today, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) presented a confident outlook for 2002 while reflecting on the successes of 2001.
“2001 was truly a breakout year for Lowe’s,” said Chairman and CEO Robert L. Tillman. “It was a year in which we broke the billion dollar mark in net earnings for the first time, we broke into the Fortune 100 for the first time, and our stock was the second best performer of all large cap stocks. It was all the result of hard work and intense execution by our employees.”
Larry D. Stone, executive vice president of store operations, told shareholders Lowe’s focus on the fundamentals of staffing and business process improvement in the stores ultimately results in exceptional customer service. “We have challenged stores to be better than our competitors, and we are helping them achieve that goal with feedback from our Customer Care consumer hotline and in-store mystery shop programs, plus customer call button reports which help stores align employees where they’re needed most to best serve customers.”
Building the Lowe’s brand through branded products customers know and trust is one way Lowe’s is differentiating itself and creating loyal shoppers from first-time customers. In 2001, Lowe’s introduced channel-exclusive brand alliances with icons such as Cub Cadet lawn tractors, Husqvarna outdoor power equipment, Pella windows and doors, Jenn-Air gas grills, Miracle-Gro plants, and Weyerhauser’s ChoiceDek composite decking. This year, Lowe’s has launched exclusive agreements with Jackson & Perkins roses and gardening products, Kichler lighting and Waverly wall coverings and window treatments.
“Building brand loyalty begins with Lowe’s unique store environment and the presentation of products in an interesting and compelling way,” explained Dale C. Pond, executive vice president of merchandising. “We showcase national brands, and often exclusive national brands, in a clean, well-lit, and well-staffed store. It’s about having the right brand and the right product, at the right price.”
Chief Financial Officer Robert A. Niblock recapped a year of strong performance and reviewed the Company’s expectations for the second quarter and fiscal year. “We anticipate continued strong performance in the second quarter, including 21 to 22 percent sales growth and earnings per share of $0.53 to $0.54. For the full year (2002), we expect to earn between $1.66 and $1.69 per share, an increase of 28 to 30 percent,” said Niblock.
Niblock said Lowe’s is pleased with current business trends and maintains an optimistic outlook for the balance of the year.
At the meeting, shareholders re-elected three directors to the company’s board of directors. Serving three-year terms are Robert A. Ingram, chief operating officer and president--pharmaceutical operations of GlaxoSmithKline; Richard K. Lochridge, president of Lochridge & Company, Inc.; and Claudine B. Malone, president and CEO of Financial & Management Consulting, Inc. Continuing on the board are Leonard L. Berry, Peter C. Browning, Paul Fulton, Dawn Hudson, Kenneth D. Lewis, Thomas D. O’Malley, Robert G. Schwartz and Robert L. Tillman.
The board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend for the second quarter of $0.02 per share, payable on August 2, 2002 to shareholders of record on July 19, 2002.
Lowe’s recently announced first quarter 2002 net earnings of $ 345.8 million on sales of $6.47 billion. Diluted earnings per share increased 51.7 percent to $0.44 from $0.29 in the first quarter of 2001. The company announced comparable store sales increase of 7.5 percent for the quarter.
This news release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Exchange Act. Although the company believes that comments reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Possible risks and uncertainties regarding these statements include, but are not limited to, the direction of general economic conditions, the availability of real estate for expansion and its successful development, particularly in major metropolitan markets, the availability of sufficient labor to facilitate growth, fluctuations in prices and availability of product, unanticipated impact of competition, legal or regulatory developments, and weather conditions that affect sales.
Lowe's Companies, Inc. is the world's second largest home improvement retailer. Headquartered in Wilkesboro, N.C., Lowe's is a Fortune 100 company and the 13th largest retailer in the U.S. With over 100,000 employees, Lowe's is Improving Home Improvement for over seven million do-it-yourself retail and commercial business customers each week at more than 785 stores in 42 states. For more information, visit Lowes.com.