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Lowe's Reports Record Earnings for First Quarter
May 20, 2003
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Home improvement retailer Lowe's Companies, Inc. reported net earnings of U.S. $421 million for the quarter ended May 2, 2003, a 21.7-percent increase over the same period a year ago. Diluted earnings per share increased 20.5 percent to $0.53 from $0.44 in the first quarter of 2002.

Sales for the quarter increased 11.4 percent to $7.21 billion, up from $6.47 billion in the first quarter of 2002. Comparable store sales for the first quarter increased 0.1 percent.

"A strong housing market and improving consumer confidence continue to support the American conviction to invest in the home despite the effect of adverse weather and uncertain world events," commented Robert L. Tillman, Lowe's chairman and CEO. "In a society where home is increasingly the centerpiece of the American dream, Lowe's makes it easy for our customers to express their unique taste and style by providing compelling stores, knowledgeable service, and great products at guaranteed low prices."

During the quarter, Lowe's opened 21 new stores. As of May 2, 2003, Lowe's operated 875 stores in 45 states representing 97.2 million square feet of retail selling space, a 12.9 percent increase over last year.

Business Outlook

Second Quarter 2003 (comparisons to second quarter 2002):

  • The company expects to open 25 stores reflecting square footage growth of approximately 13 percent
  • Total sales are expected to increase approximately 13 percent
  • The company expects to report comparable store sales of 2 to 4 percent
  • Operating margin (defined as gross margin less SG&A and depreciation) is expected to increase 20 to 30 basis points
  • Store opening costs are expected to be approximately $23 million
  • Diluted earnings per share of $0.68 to $0.70 are expected
  • Lowe's second quarter ends on August 1, 2003 with operating results to be publicly released on Monday, August 18, 2003

    Fiscal Year 2003 (comparisons to fiscal year 2002)

  • The company expects to open 130 stores in 2003 reflecting total square footage growth of approximately 15 percent
  • Total sales are expected to increase approximately 14 to 15 percent for the year
  • The company expects to report a comparable store sales increase of approximately 3 to 4 percent
  • Operating margin (defined as gross margin less SG&A and depreciation) is expected to increase 20 to 30 basis points
  • Store opening costs are expected to be approximately $140 million
  • Diluted earnings per share of $2.16 to $2.20 are expected for the fiscal year ending Jan. 30, 2004.

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