Company to Open 130 Stores in 2003 and 140 Stores in 2004
Focus on Metropolitan Market Growth Continues
Shareholders Re-Elect Three to Board of Directors
CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- At its annual meeting of
shareholders, Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) today discussed the company's
record performance in 2002 and outlined its merchandising and marketing
initiatives to help the company "raise the bar" in 2003 and beyond.
(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000720/LOWES )
"2002 was a breakaway year for Lowe's," said Robert L. Tillman, chairman
and CEO. "We achieved a number of major milestones ... record sales and
record earnings ... the highest inventory turnover in 20 years ... and became
cash flow positive.
"Lowe's also jumped to #60 from #94 on the FORTUNE 500 list, and moved to
#7 on Business Week's list of the 50 best-performing companies in the U.S.
The Department of Energy named our company its Energy Star Retail Partner of
the Year for our commitment to the environment, and FORTUNE named Lowe's the
Most Admired Specialty Retailer in America," added Tillman.
President Robert A. Niblock told shareholders how Lowe's "Up the
Continuum" merchandising and marketing strategy continues to produce better
margins, higher average tickets, and most importantly, more satisfied
"Our core merchandising strategy is based on the principle of winning
customers' business -- and their trust and loyalty -- by offering them
something different, and something better, than they can get anywhere else,"
said Niblock. "Up the Continuum is a way for us to capitalize on our superior
stores and showcase the premium brands, everyday low prices and the quality
merchandise our stores offer."
Niblock also highlighted Store Operations' continued focus on the
fundamentals of in-store execution and driving specialty sales initiatives --
Installation Services, Special Order Sales, and the Commercial Business
"We target these areas because 'do-it-yourself' is clearly giving way to
'do it for me,' and Baby Boomers are turning to professionals ... our
commercial customers ... to do a lot of their installation and much of their
maintenance," added Niblock.
Niblock noted that installation services produced $1.1 billion in sales
for Lowe's in 2002, with a goal to double this business by the end of 2005.
In addition, Special Order sales have more than tripled since 1998, and
currently represents almost eight percent of the company's total sales volume.
Lowe's Chief Financial Officer Robert F. Hull, Jr. addressed the company's
store expansion plans and 2002 financial highlights.
"Lowe's delivered record sales and earnings in 2002 and demonstrated our
ability to expand and grow by continuing to focus on our vision of being our
customers' first choice for home improvement in each and every market we
serve," stated Hull.
Lowe's is on track to open 130 new stores in 2003 and 140 stores in 2004.
Hull also noted Lowe's aggressive metropolitan market expansion continues.
Sixty-five percent of 2003's new stores will open in major metro markets,
including the New York City metropolitan area where Lowe's recently announced
plans to invest approximately $1 billion to open more than 60 stores over the
next few years.
At the meeting, shareholders re-elected three nominees to Lowe's board of
directors: Peter. C. Browning, Dean of the McColl Graduate School of Business
at Queens University; Thomas D. O'Malley, Chairman, President and CEO of
Premcor Inc., an oil refiner; and Kenneth D. Lewis, Chairman, CEO and
President of Bank of America. Each director was elected to a three-year term.
Continuing on the board are Leonard L. Berry, Paul Fulton, Dawn E. Hudson,
Robert A. Ingram, Richard K. Lochridge, Claudine B. Malone and Robert L.
This meeting marked the end of Mr. Bob Schwartz' thirty years of service
to Lowe's as a Director. Schwartz is retiring.
"Bob Schwartz has been an important part of Lowe's growth and prosperity
over the years," said CEO Bob Tillman. "His wise counsel has proved
invaluable. On behalf of our 130,000 Lowe's employees and our shareholders, I
salute and thank Bob for his distinguished service."
Also at the meeting, shareholder resolutions concerning Global Workers'
Rights Standards and an Independent Director serving as Chairman of the Board
were defeated. A shareholder proposal recommending that the Board of
Directors redeem the company's Shareholders' Right plan, unless such plan is
approved by the shareholders, was adopted.
The board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of two-and-one-
half cents (2 1/2 cents) per share, payable on August 1, 2003 to shareholders
of record as of July 18, 2003.
Lowe's has paid a cash dividend each quarter since going public in 1961.
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.
With fiscal year 2002 sales of $26.5 billion, Lowe's Companies, Inc. is a
FORTUNE 100 company that serves approximately nine million customers a week at
more than 875 home improvement stores in 45 states. In 2003, FORTUNE named
Lowe's America's Most Admired Specialty Retailer. Based in Wilkesboro, N.C.,
the 57-year old company is the second-largest home improvement retailer in the
world. For more information, visit Lowes.com .
SOURCE Lowe's Companies, Inc.
/CONTACT: Shareholders-Analysts, Paul Taaffe, +1-336-658-5239, or media,
Brian Peace, +1-336-658-4170, both of Lowe's Companies, Inc./
/Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000720/LOWES
AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org
PRN Photo Desk, 888-776-6555 or 212-782-2840/
/Web site: http://www.lowes.com /
CO: Lowe's Companies, Inc.
ST: North Carolina
SU: PER ERP SRP DIV
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0135 05/30/2003 11:00 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com