Lowe's Earnings Flat, Expands Online Push

MOORESVILLE, N.C. - Lowe's profit performance beat Wall Street expectations although its sales missed the retailer's target.
     Net income of $830 million was fairly flat compared to last year's second quarter, while earnings per share rose 10.3% to 64 cents.
     Sales for the quarter ended July 29 rose 1.3% to $14.5 billion, with comps off 0.3%.
     The home center retailer has been conducting merchandise reviews in all departments, according to Robert Niblock, chairman, president and ceo.
     The company also continues to invest in ecommerce, which ended the qurter with more than 190,000 items available online - a 73% jump from a year ago, he told analysts during Lowe's quarterly conference call.
     "We've also recently begun shipping items to customers from service stores and regional distribution centers in addition to our dedicated Internet warehouse.
     This means with more items available for partial shipment than ever before, we can provide faster delivery and reduce our cost to fulfill orders," he said.
     Lowe's is launching a Spanish- language version of its site, including ecommerce. The retailer will also soon debut its first mobile app. Near the end of the fiscal year, the company will launch My Lowe's, "a set of capabilities that will revolutionize how customers interact with us to more efficiently manage projects and improve their homes," said Niblock.

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