Appliance retailer Lowe's Cos., Inc., reported a 28 percent rise in fourth-quarter profits for the period ended Jan. 30, 2004. The company said it earned U.S. $407 million, or $0.51 cents a share, for the 3 months ended Jan. 30, up from $319 million, or $0.40 cents a share, for the same period in 2003. Overall sales for the quarter were up more than 20 percent to $7.25 billion from $6.04 billion in the 2003 period.
The company is forecasting first-quarter earnings of $0.52 cents to $0.54 cents a share and full-year earnings of $2.63 to $2.66 a share including the impact of an accounting change. Analysts had estimated that including the accounting change, earnings per share would be $0.59 cents in the current quarter and $2.68 for the year.
For the fiscal year ended last month, the Mooresville, N.C.-based chain's net earnings grew 27.6 percent to $1.88 billion, or $2.34 per share, up from $1.47 billion, or $1.85 per share from the same period in 2003. Sales reached $30.84 billion, compared with $26.1 billion in the 2003 period.
Looking ahead, Lowe's said it expects sales to rise 18 percent to 19 percent in the first quarter, while same-store sales will rise 6 percent to 7 percent.
Lowe's attributed much of its gains to expansion into large U.S. cities such as New York, NY, U.S., Boston, MA, U.S., and Chicago, IL, U.S. During the fourth quarter, Lowe's opened 47 new stores, including one relocation. Lowe's currently operates 952 stores in 45 states. It plans to open 29 stores in the first quarter. (Associated Press)
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