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Lowe's Outlines 2012 Strategy
Dec 7, 2011
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Home appliance and home improvement retailer Lowe’s Companies, Inc. hosted its 2011 Analyst and Investor Conference yesterday (Dec. 6, 2011) in Mooresville, NC.

"We are in the process of transforming Lowe’s from a home improvement retailer to a home improvement company - a company committed to delivering better customer experiences across the entire home improvement spectrum, by pulling together the best combination of possibilities, support and value for customers wherever and whenever they choose to engage," said Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO. "By enhancing our customer experience, we will drive long-term sales growth, increase profitability, and enhance shareholder value."

He said that Lowe's strong financial position and cash flow enabled the company to invest in this transformation.

"This was the year (2011) we made the tough decisions and the right investments to better position ourselves to execute well in the near-term and carry our company into the future," said Rick D. Damron, executive vice president of store operations. The tough decisions he referred to included the October closing of 20 Lowe's stores and the scaling back of new store opening plans."

It was not immediately clear how the transformation would change how Lowe's sells appliances.

"While customers seek good prices, they also expect high quality and innovation. Currently, most customers do not perceive a high level of differentiation in the home improvement sector," noted Robert J. Gfeller, Jr., executive vice president of merchandising. "This creates a great opportunity for Lowe’s.”

Lowe’s also reiterated its prior sales and earnings guidance for the 2011 fiscal year:

in fiscal year 2011 (a 53-week year, compared to fiscal year 2010, which was a 52-week year):
• total sales are expected to increase 2-3%
• the 53rd week is expected to increase total sales by approximately 1.5%
• comparable store sales are expected to decline about 1%
• about 25 new Lowe's stores will be opened in 2011

Fiscal year 2010 sales were $48.8 billion. The company currently has more than 1,725 home improvement stores in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

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