Lowe's Blames Weather, Economy for Q1 Woes

MOORESVILLE, N.C. - Slammed by harsh weather conditions that only further damped the negative effects of the soft housing industry, Lowe's Companies suffered multiple declines in its first quarter.
     For the 13-week period, ended April 29, the home improvement chain saw its net earnings dip 5.7% to $461 million, while sales decreased 1.6% to $12.2 billion from, and comparable store sales declined 3.3%.
     Earnings per share of 34 cents were flat compared to last year and within the company's guidance.
     "During the quarter, we faced ongoing economic pressures, unfavorable weather conditions and tough comparisons to last year's government stimulus programs," lamented Robert Niblock, chairman and ceo. "While we are focused on competing effectively in the current environment, we are also working diligently on our commitment to deliver better customer experiences. We are building momentum in 2011 behind our transformation from a home improvement retailer to a home improvement company."
     Lowe's outlook for its second quarter calls for: total sales to increase approximately 4%; comparable store sales to increase approximately 2%; and diluted earnings per share of 65 to 69 cents.
     For fiscal 2011, Lowe's is expecting: total sales to increase approximately 4%; comparable store sales to increase 0% to 1%; and diluted earnings per share of $1.56 to $1.64.

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