Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) today reported net earnings of $1.13 billion for the quarter ended July 31, 2015, an 8.4 percent increase over the same period a year ago. Diluted earnings per share increased 15.4 percent to $1.20 from $1.04 in the second quarter of 2014. For the six months endedJuly 31, 2015, net earnings increased 8.2 percent from the same period a year ago to $1.80 billion, and diluted earnings per share increased 15.9 percent to $1.90.
Sales for the second quarter increased 4.5 percent to $17.3 billion from $16.6 billion in the second quarter of 2014, and comparable sales increased 4.3 percent. For the six month period, sales were $31.5 billion, a 4.9 percent increase over the same period a year ago, and comparable sales increased 4.7 percent. Comparable sales for the U.S. home improvement business increased 4.6 percent for the second quarter and 4.9 percent for the six month period.
“We posted solid results for the quarter and were able to capitalize on big-ticket market share opportunities with strong growth in categories like appliances and outdoor power equipment,” commented Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO. “I would like to thank our employees for their hard work and commitment to serving customers during this important selling season.”
“Our year-to-date earnings per share performance was in line with our expectations. This, together with the execution of our strategic priorities, gives us confidence in our Business Outlook for 2015,” Niblock added.
The results missed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.23 per share.
The home improvement retailer posted revenue of $17.35 billion in the period, beating Street forecasts. Ten analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $17.31 billion.
Lowe’s expects full-year earnings to be $3.29 per share.
Lowe’s shares have risen 6 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has increased almost 2 percent. The stock has climbed 45 percent in the last 12 months.
Delivering on its commitment to return excess cash to shareholders, the company repurchased $1.5 billion of stock under its share repurchase program and paid $218 million in dividends in the second quarter. For the six month period, the company repurchased $2.5 billion of stock under its share repurchase program and paid $440 million in dividends.
As of July 31, 2015, Lowe’s operated 1,846 home improvement and hardware stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico representing 201.4 million square feet of retail selling space.
Lowe’s Business Outlook Fiscal Year 2015 (comparisons to fiscal year 2014; based on U.S. GAAP unless otherwise noted)
- Total sales are expected to increase 4.5 to 5 percent.
- Comparable sales are expected to increase 4 to 4.5 percent.
- The company expects to add 15 to 20 home improvement and hardware stores.
- Earnings before interest and taxes as a percentage of sales (operating margin) are expected to increase 80 to 100 basis points.
- The effective income tax rate is expected to be approximately 38.1%.
- Diluted earnings per share of approximately $3.29 are expected for the fiscal year endingJanuary 29, 2016.
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