Wilkesboro, N.C. - Lowe's Companies, Inc., the world's second largest home improvement retailer, today held a conference with analysts and investors in Las Vegas, Nev. to discuss the Company's current operations as well as its long term plans.
“As we described yesterday in our third quarter earnings press release, we've seen widespread strength in both geographic sales patterns and customer traffic over the past several months, indicated Robert L. Tillman, Lowe's chairman, president and CEO.” “This balance, in combination with our continued execution of the fundamentals, will drive our success in the future.”
Larry D. Stone, Lowe's executive vice president of Operations, outlined the Company's formula for success during a difficult economic environment.
“Our stores faced many challenges over the past several quarters, but I'm confident the experienced management team we have in place can weather even the toughest storm and continue to provide improving store performance,” stated Stone. “Our operations focus will continue to be on our four key initiatives of Installed Sales, Special Order Sales, Commercial Business Customers and Appliances, where we have continued opportunity to drive incremental sales.”
Lowe's Executive Vice President of Logistics and Technology, Thomas E. Whiddon, indicated that he sees opportunity for supply chain and technology initiatives to increase the performance and productivity of Lowe's operations. “Since the early 1990's Lowe's has undergone a tremendous transformation from a small store operator to a big box retailer,” Whiddon noted. “During this transformation, our focus could not be diverted from the task at hand. With the transformation nearly complete, we know we have the opportunity to review some of the inefficiencies that may have developed and provide solutions with new processes and technology.”
Dale Pond, Lowe's executive vice president of Merchandising discussed Lowe's vision for the Company's successful merchandising strategy.
“Our merchandising strategy of providing the right mix of great brands at competitive prices continues to gain traction as evidenced by our third quarter results,” said Pond. “Our ongoing line review process still presents opportunities to refine our mix and improve gross margin.”
Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's senior vice president and CFO provided longer-term guidance on the Company's sales, earnings and growth prospects. “Driven by revenue growth of 18 to 19 percent, gross margin expansion and tight expense controls we expect a net earnings increase of approximately 18 percent in 2002, growing to 20 percent in 2003,” Niblock stated. “We expect to add 123 new stores in 2002 (including 6 to 7 relocations of older, smaller stores) and approximately 130 new stores in 2003, primarily in the nation's larger metro markets.”
Lowe's fiscal fourth quarter ends on February 1, 2002 with operating results to be publicly released on Monday, February 25, 2002.
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 the 14th largest retailer in the U.S. as well as the 30th largest retailer worldwide. With over 100,000 employees, Lowe's is Improving Home Improvement for over six million do-it-yourself retail and commercial business customers each week. For more information, visit www.lowes.com.