-- Increases Dividend by 33 Percent
-- Company Discusses Consumer Trends Driving Home Improvement Growth
-- Shareholders Elect Board Members
CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- At its annual meeting of
shareholders today, Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) summed up the company's
outstanding performance for 2003 and outlined trends expected to influence
future home improvement growth.
(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20031205/LOWLOGO )
Chairman and CEO Robert L. Tillman told shareholders that thanks to the
company's 150,000 employees, Lowe's again achieved record performance in 2003
and is positioned to continue its rapid growth.
"Due to our continually outstanding results, Lowe's now ranks #50 on the
FORTUNE 500 list and, in 2004, was named America's Most Admired Specialty
retailer for a second straight year," Tillman explained. "With our strong,
58-year foundation and team of seasoned executives led by Robert Niblock, I am
confident Lowe's is poised for a bright and successful future."
Building on a decade of strong results, Robert F. Hull Jr., chief
financial officer, said Lowe's is off to a strong start in 2004, with a first
quarter sales increase of 22 percent, a 9.9 percent comp store sales increase,
and net earnings increase of 8.1 percent in the quarter.
"Reflecting our sales and earnings performance over the past year, the
company's stock in 2003 was up 48 percent," Hull explained, "Looking over a
five-year period, shareholders have been rewarded with an 86 percent return on
their investment, versus a 29 percent return for the S&P 500 Retail Index and
a 5 percent decline for the S&P 500 over the same time period."
Lowe's President, Robert A. Niblock, explained Lowe's longer-term growth
plans, including the addition of 140 stores, the company's entry into three
new states in 2004 (Minnesota, Wisconsin and Maine) and a new regional
distribution center in central Florida. Niblock said Lowe's operations model
and up-the-continuum merchandising strategy position the company well to serve
two emerging consumer groups-the 'serial renovators' and 'home entertainers'-
today and tomorrow.
"The 'home entertainers' are primarily younger, educated professional
women who are brand loyal," Niblock added. "They want real service, not lip
service, and Lowe's stands ready to provide what they need with installation
services, innovative products and top-notch customer service. The 'serial
remodeler' phenomenon is being led by homeowners who are motivated by
continuous innovation and overhaul their kitchens, baths or family rooms a
third more often than homeowners a decade ago. They often replace items that
are still working with high-end products that have better design, more
functionality and better energy efficiency. Innovation, evident in the
products Lowe's offers, is creating more must-have items for these groups of
Shareholders elected Leonard L. Berry, Paul Fulton, Dawn E. Hudson and
Niblock to three-year terms. Stephen F. Page, O. Temple Sloan, Jr. and
Marshall O. Larsen were elected to two-year terms. Larsen is chairman and CEO
of Goodrich Corporation, a supplier of systems and services to the aerospace
and defense industry. Tillman was elected for a one-year term, which expires
in 2005, to coincide with his plans to retire at the end of the fiscal year.
Continuing board members include Peter C. Browning, Robert A. Ingram, Richard
K. Lochridge and Claudine B. Malone. Shareholders also ratified Deloitte and
Touche LLP as independent auditors for the 2004 fiscal year.
Today, the board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of four
cents ($0.04) per share, an increase of 33 percent, payable on July 30, 2004
to shareholders of record as of July 16, 2004. Lowe's has paid a cash dividend
each quarter since going public in 1961.
This news release includes statements, estimates or projections that
constitute "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, changes in domestic 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. We provide additional
information regarding these and other risks and uncertainties in our filings
with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements
contained in this news release speak only as of this date and we do not assume
any obligation to update them.
With fiscal year 2003 sales of $30.8 billion, Lowe's Companies, Inc. is a
FORTUNE 50 company that serves approximately 10 million customers a week at
more than 975 home improvement stores in 45 states. In 2004, FORTUNE named
Lowe's America's Most Admired Specialty Retailer for a second consecutive
year. Based in Mooresville, N.C., the 58-year old company is the second-
largest home improvement retailer in the world. For more information,
SOURCE Lowe's Companies, Inc.
-0- 05/28/2004 P
/CONTACT: Shareholders-Analysts, Paul Taaffe, +1-704-758-2033, or Media,
Chris Ahearn, +1-704-758-2304, both of Lowe's Companies, Inc./
/Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20031205/LOWLOGO
AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org
PRN Photo Desk, email@example.com/
/Web site: http://www.lowes.com /
CO: Lowe's Companies, Inc.
ST: North Carolina
IN: REA HOU
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6107 05/28/2004 11:00 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com