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Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW), the world’s second largest home improvement retailer, today reported net earnings of $747 million for the quarter ended August 3, 2012, a 10.0 percent decrease over the same period a year ago. Diluted earnings per share of $0.64 were flat versus the second quarter of 2011. For the six months ended August 3, 2012, net earnings decreased 1.3 percent from the same period a year ago to $1.27 billion, while diluted earnings per share increased 9.2 percent to $1.07.
Lowe’s fiscal year ends on the Friday nearest the end of January; therefore, fiscal year 2011 included 53 weeks. The quarterly comparisons in 2012, which is a 52-week year, are impacted by a shift in comparable weeks. Sales for the second quarter decreased 2.0 percent to $14.2 billion from $14.5 billion in the second quarter of 2011. The week shift accounted for $259 million or 1.8 percent of the total sales decline for the second quarter. For the six month period, sales were $27.4 billion, a 2.5 percent increase over the same period a year ago. The week shift accounted for $255 million or 1.0 percent of the total sales increase for the six month period.
The week shift negatively impacted diluted earnings per share by approximately $0.03 in the second quarter. For the six month period, the week shift contributed approximately $0.03 to diluted earnings per share.
Included in the above reported results is a charge related to a previously announced reduction in staff at U.S. headquarters. This charge reduced pre-tax earnings for the second quarter by $15 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.01. For the six month period, this charge reduced pre-tax earnings by $32 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.02.
Comparable store sales for the second quarter decreased 0.4 percent, while comparable store sales for the U.S. business decreased 0.2 percent. For the six month period, comparable store sales increased 1.0 percent, while comparable store sales for the U.S. business increased 1.2%. Comparable store sales are based on comparable 13-week periods.