Print Page  |  Close Window

News Release

Lowe's Announces Growth Strategies at 2004 Analyst and Investor Conference
          -- Discusses Guidance for Third Quarter and Fiscal 2004 --

                   -- Provides Outlook for 2005 and 2006 --

NEW YORK, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) will tell analysts and investors today in Manhattan at its annual conference that the company's strategic initiatives, customer focused culture, and strong management team position Lowe's to build on its success well into the future.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20031205/LOWLOGO )

In an update to current sales and earnings trends, the company indicated it remains comfortable with its previous guidance of 3 to 4 percent comparable store sales growth and earnings per share of $0.65 to $0.66 for the third quarter of 2004, and approximately 6 percent comparable store sales growth and earnings per share of $2.69 to $2.71 for the fiscal year.

"I'm convinced our future is bright with tremendous opportunities to grow volume, share and customer loyalty in every category and every market we serve," commented Robert L. Tillman, Lowe's chairman and CEO, who previously announced his plans to retire at the end of this fiscal year. "As my retirement approaches, I believe we have the best group of employees in retail today, and with Robert Niblock and a strong management team in place, I know I'm leaving Lowe's in great hands. I have full confidence in Robert's ability to build on our success and lead Lowe's to even greater results in the future."

At today's conference President Robert A. Niblock, who will become the company's next chairman and CEO on January 28, 2005, will discuss Lowe's plans to capitalize on the demographic, social and economic trends shaping the home improvement industry.

"Understanding our customers means keeping our fingers on the pulse of the trends affecting our industry and our company," commented Niblock. "It's been said the best way to predict the future is to create it. To be effective, we must learn from the past, live in the present and concentrate on the future.

"That's exactly what we're doing with our specialty sales initiatives, targeted merchandising and marketing efforts, enhanced technology and continued leverage from our logistics and distribution network."

Robert F. Hull, Jr., executive vice president and CFO, will provide an outlook for fiscal years 2005 and 2006 and share Lowe's future store growth plans.

"We continue to add new stores in quality locations, and they are quickly being adopted as the first choice for home improvement by customers in those markets," said Hull. "We plan to add 150 stores in 2005 and 150 to 160 new stores in fiscal 2006, equating to approximately 13 to 14 percent square footage growth in 2005 and 12 percent in 2006. We expect this square footage growth to drive annual sales increases of 16 to 17 percent in fiscal 2005 and approximately 16 percent in 2006."

Lowe's executives will focus on key programs and initiatives to improve operations, increase market share and continually enhance customer service. Highlights of those presentations include:

    -- Larry D. Stone, senior executive vice president of operations:
       "To support Lowe's tremendous opportunity for continued growth, we've
       taken important steps to seize the opportunity in three key areas:
       installed sales, special order sales and our commercial business
       customers.  We have built an effective installed sales process that is
       scalable to keep up with the explosive growth in this category across
       our store base.  Our advances in technology are making the special
       order process easier for our customers and employees, and we are
       leveraging our core business strengths to build the commercial
       business."

    -- Dale C. Pond, senior executive vice president of merchandising and
        marketing:
       "I'm convinced we have the right strategies in place to grow market
       share and further solidify our position as better and different than
       the alternatives in the industry.  We remain focused on strengthening
       our line designs, executing our up-the-continuum merchandising and
       marketing strategy, realizing further leverage from our vendor service
       program, and growing our global sourcing initiative.  It all boils down
       to serving customers better than any other retailer."

    -- Gregory M. Bridgeford, executive vice president of business
        development:
       "Lowe's growth strategy is built around three primary areas: driving
       profitable growth through continued organic expansion, with a continued
       emphasis on major metropolitan markets; enhancing the profit flow-
       through of our store platforms to make our stores the most productive
       in retailing; and finally, lining up new revenue streams against these
       customer-focused platforms."

    -- J. Michael Mabry, Jr., executive vice president of logistics and
        distribution:
       "When it comes to distribution, the retailer that moves the product
       fastest, the most reliably and at the lowest cost from the manufacturer
       to the store is the retailer who wins.  At Lowe's we are taking our
       state-of-the-art distribution infrastructure to the next level, cutting
       replenishment times, seizing opportunities in the supply chain, and
       putting our stores in a position to drive sales and satisfy more
       customers."

    -- Steven M. Stone, senior vice president and chief information
        officer:
       "Everything we do with technology supports our vision of being our
       customers' first choice in every market we serve.  We've increased our
       investment in technology by approximately 40 percent over the last
       three years, with a focus on building integrated solutions that deliver
       the greatest value and directly impact the customer experience in a
       Lowe's store."

Lowe's fiscal third quarter ends on October 29, 2004 with operating results to be publicly released on Monday, November 15, 2004.

This news release includes "forward-looking statements," as such are provided for by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the "Act"). All statements other than those reciting historic fact are statements that could be "forward-looking" under the Act. Statements containing words such as "expects," "planned," "strategy," "projects," "believes," "opportunity," "anticipates," "desires," and similar expressions are intended to highlight or indicate "forward-looking statements." Although the Company believes that its forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such statements will prove to be correct.

A wide-variety of factors could materially affect our ability to achieve the results expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements including, but not limited to fluctuations in general domestic economic conditions, as well as the company's ability to: (i) manage information technology and processes; (ii) attract, train, and retain highly-qualified associates; (iii) locate and secure new sites for store development; (iv) respond to fluctuations in the prices and availability of services, supplies, and products; (v) address the growth and impact of competition; (vi) absorb lost sales resulting from unanticipated weather conditions; and (vii) address legal and regulatory matters. Additional information regarding the risks and uncertainties which may affect the Company's operations and economic results can be found in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

With fiscal year 2003 sales of $30.8 billion, Lowe's Companies, Inc. is a FORTUNE(R) 50 company that serves approximately 10 million customers a week at more than 1,000 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, visit Lowes.com.

SOURCE  Lowe's Companies, Inc.
    -0-                             09/28/2004
    /CONTACT: Shareholders/Analysts: Paul Taaffe, +1-704-758-2033, or Media:
Chris Ahearn, +1-704-758-2304, both for Lowe's Companies, Inc./
    /Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20031205/LOWLOGO
              AP Archive:  http://photoarchive.ap.org
              PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com /
    /Web site:  http://www.lowes.com /
    (LOW)

CO:  Lowe's Companies, Inc.
ST:  New York
IN:  HOU REA
SU:  ERP

DE-BE 
-- NYTU065 --
0126 09/28/2004 08:00 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com