Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) will discuss progress made on its mission to deliver better customer experiences and provide further details of its strategy designed to drive long-term sales growth, increase profitability and enhance shareholder value when the company meets with analysts and investors today in Mooresville, North Carolina at its conference. Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO, said, “As we look at the home improvement industry, we know consumers’ affinity for their homes remains strong even as we emerge from the worst housing downturn since the Great Depression. As a result, we’re focused on transforming Lowe’s to be the first choice for home improvement by providing better experiences. “With the infrastructure we have in place and the changes we’re making, we expect to generate significant cash flow for years to come. We will use that cash flow to make investments in our core business, in other strategic opportunities to serve developing home improvement markets, and to return capital to shareholders,” Niblock concluded. During the conference, senior Lowe's executives will focus on critical decisions and progress on key initiatives that position the company for success, and will update its long-term financial targets. Highlights of the presentations include:
- Gregory M. Bridgeford, chief customer officer: “We are building on our core strengths with Value Improvement and Product Differentiation. These focus areas are expected to deliver comparable store transaction growth, higher gross margins and improved inventory productivity. You might think of Value Improvement as the inner circle enhancing the core, and Product Differentiation as the outer circle driving excitement and flexibility.”
- Rick D. Damron, chief operating officer: “We will evolve our sales culture across all channels to better understand and serve customers’ needs, and further leverage our investments in technology. This next phase of our transformation is focused on our associates and their relationship with customers. It is a shift from a transaction-oriented culture to a project-oriented culture with a particular focus on lead conversion and average ticket growth.”
- Robert F. Hull, Jr., CFO: “We are focused on building the experiences customers want and are dedicated to finishing our journey. Differentiated experiences will lead to brand advocacy and loyalty, which in turn drives return on invested capital and shareholder returns.”
Lowe’s Business OutlookFiscal 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 2 percent.
- The company expects comparable store sales to increase approximately 1 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 40 basis points.
- Depreciation expense is expected to be approximately $1.5 billion.
- The effective income tax rate is expected to be approximately 37.7%.
- Diluted earnings per share of approximately $1.64 are expected for the fiscal year ending February 1, 2013.
The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are based upon data available as of the date of this release or other specified date and speak only as of such date. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to us or any person acting on our behalf about any of the matters covered in this release are qualified by these cautionary statements and the “Risk Factors” included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K to the SEC and the description of material changes, if any, therein included in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. We expressly disclaim any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, change in circumstances, future events, or otherwise.With fiscal year 2011 sales of $50.2 billion, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. is a FORTUNE ® 100 company that serves approximately 15 million customers a week at more than 1,745 home improvement stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Founded in 1946 and based in Mooresville, N.C., Lowe’s is the second-largest home improvement retailer in the world. For more information, visit Lowes.com.