-- Company Increases Dividend by 50 Percent -- Outlines Core Strategies for Continuous Business Improvement -- Shareholders Elect Board Members
CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 27, 2005 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- At its annual meeting of
shareholders today, Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) outlined key
initiatives that are driving continuous improvement in the company's business.
(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20031205/LOWLOGO )
"With record sales, industry-leading comps, and 160,000 employees focused
on delivering superior customer service, Lowe's delivered an outstanding year
in 2004," said Lowe's Chairman, President and CEO Robert A. Niblock.
Niblock outlined three strategies upon which the company is concentrating
to deliver strong performance in 2005 and beyond:
-- Better leveraging of Lowe's operating platform through its Rapid
Response Replenishment (R3) initiative designed to move more product
more quickly to more customers, while lowering inventory investment, as
well as the use of technology to better manage or automate tasks
employees must accomplish in-store, freeing them to spend more time
-- Driving growth and market penetration by adding stores in both
metropolitan and small markets, and tailoring those stores to address
the needs of an increasingly diverse customer base with the right
product offerings, signage and product packaging that is friendly to
all customers. In addition, our Installed and Special Order Sales
programs continue to enable Lowe's to increase sales by making shopping
easy for both homeowners and commercial business customers (CBC).
-- Differentiating the company by offering quality products consumers
trust, plus new, innovative products exclusive to Lowe's, in a superior
shopping environment and continuing to deliver great value for our
Lowe's is also reaching new milestones in 2005. In the first quarter, the
company achieved $1 billion in sales during a single week for the first time
in its history.
"The success Lowe's experienced in 2004 was the continuation of a decade-
long trend of profitable growth," explained Robert F. Hull, executive vice
president and CFO. "Our relentless pursuit of perfection and continued
investment in our business has allowed Lowe's to grow annual sales by
19 percent and earnings by 26 percent over the past ten years. And, despite
unseasonable weather in March, 2005 is off to a strong start."
During the meeting, shareholders elected board members Robert A. Ingram,
Robert L. Johnson, and Richard K. Lochridge to three-year terms. Continuing
directors include Peter C. Browning, Marshall O. Larsen, Stephen F. Page,
O. Temple Sloan, Jr., Leonard L. Berry, Paul Fulton, Dawn E. Hudson and
Niblock. Claudine B. Malone president and CEO of Financial & Management
Consulting, Inc., and a Lowe's director since 1995, did not stand for re-
election this year.
"Claudine served during a time of tremendous growth and success," Niblock
said. "On behalf of the entire board, I'd like to thank her for her
outstanding service to Lowe's and our shareholders over the past ten years."
Shareholders approved an amendment to the directors' stock option plan.
The plan now permits the board of directors to grant deferred stock units
representing shares of Lowe's common stock. At each award date, the board of
directors must elect to grant either deferred stock units or options to
purchase shares of Lowe's common stock under the plan. Until the board of
directors decides otherwise, the board of directors intends to grant only
deferred stock units. 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 six
cents ($0.06) per share, an increase of 50 percent, payable on July 29, 2005
to shareholders of record as of July 15, 2005. 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 2004 sales of $36.5 billion, Lowe's Companies, Inc. is a
Fortune(R) 50 company that serves approximately 11 million customers a week at
more than 1,100 home improvement stores in 48 states. Based in Mooresville,
N.C., the 59-year old company is the second-largest home improvement retailer
in the world. For more information, visit http://www.Lowes.com .
SOURCE Lowe's Companies, Inc.
Media Inquiries, Chris Ahearn, +1-704-758-2304, or Shareholder- Analyst Inquiries:
Paul Taaffe, +1-704-758-2033, both of Lowe's Companies, Inc.