“Our results fell short of our overall expectations,” commented Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO. “However, I have confidence in our strategy and in our employees, and while we recognize the significant magnitude of change that we’ve asked the organization to absorb as we transform our business, we fully understand that we must improve our level of execution.”Delivering on the commitment to return excess cash to shareholders, the company repurchased $1.0 billion or 36.8 million shares of stock and paid $166 million in dividends in the second quarter. For the six month period, the company repurchased $2.75 billion or 94.7 million shares of common stock and paid $340 million in dividends. As of August 3, 2012, Lowe’s operated 1,748 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico representing 196.8 million square feet of retail selling space. A conference call to discuss second quarter 2012 operating results is scheduled for today (Monday, August 20) at 9:00 am ET. The conference call will be available through a webcast and can be accessed by visiting Lowe’s website at www.Lowes.com/investor and clicking on Lowe’s Second Quarter 2012 Earnings Conference Call Webcast. A replay of the call will be archived on Lowes.com/investor until November 18, 2012. Lowe’s Business Outlook Fiscal Year 2012 – a 52-week Year (comparisons to fiscal year 2011 – a 53-week year; based on U.S. GAAP unless otherwise noted)
- Total sales are expected to be approximately flat. On a 52 versus 52 week basis, total sales are expected to increase approximately 1 percent.
- The company expects comparable store sales to increase approximately 0.5 percent (on a 52 versus 52 week basis).
- The company expects to open approximately 10 stores in fiscal year 2012.
- Earnings before interest and taxes as a percentage of sales (operating margin) are expected to increase approximately 45 basis points.
- Depreciation expense is expected to be approximately $1.5 billion.
- The effective income tax rate is expected to be approximately 37.8%.
- Diluted earnings per share of approximately $1.64 are expected for the fiscal year ending February 1, 2013.