Appliance retailer Lowe's Companies, Inc. reported net earnings of U.S. $695 million for the 14-week period ended Feb. 3, 2006, a 36.8 percent increase over the 13-week period ended Jan. 28, 2005. For fiscal 2005, net earnings grew 27.3 percent to $2.77 billion.
Sales for the 14-week period increased 26.4 percent to $10.8 billion, up from $8.55 billion for the 13-week period in the prior-year period. Comparable store sales for the fourth quarter increased 7.8 percent versus a comparable 14-week period. For the fiscal year ended Feb. 3, 2006, sales increased 18.6 percent to $43.2 billion. Comparable store sales increased 6.1 percent for fiscal 2005.
"Our strong fourth quarter and fiscal year results represent a focus on execution and a culture of customer service that solidifies Lowe's competitive position across the country," explained Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's chairman, president and CEO. "Amidst the challenges of a weather-affected 2005 spring selling season and the devastation caused by the most active hurricane season on record, we were ready to serve customers and provide products, services and solutions to meet their home improvement needs.
During the quarter, Lowe's opened 63 new stores and reopened one store temporarily closed as a result of hurricane Katrina. As of Feb. 3, 2006, Lowe's operated 1,234 stores in 49 states representing 140.1 million square feet of retail selling space, a 13.2-percent increase over last year.
In the first quarter of 2006, Lowe's expects sales to increase 19 percent to 20 percent with diluted earnings per share of $0.92 to $0.94. Second quarter 2006 sales are expected to increase 13 percent to 14 percent with diluted earnings per share of $1.22 to $1.25.
For the full fiscal year 2006, total sales are expected to increase approximately 13 percent to 14 percent and diluted earnings per share of $4.03 to $4.13 are expected for the fiscal year ending Feb. 2, 2007.
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