Lowe’s Companies Inc. moves into the second half of the year on second quarter earnings that — though depressed — are depicted as “solid” by Chairman and CEO Robert A. Niblock.
The Mooresville, N.C.-based home improvement retailer today reported net earnings of $938 million for the quarter ended Aug. 1, a 7.9-percent decline from the same period a year ago. Diluted earnings per share declined 4.5 percent to 64 cents from 67 cents in the second quarter of 2007.
For the six months ended Aug. 1, net earnings declined 12.1 percent to $1.54 billion while diluted earnings per share declined 8.7 percent to $1.05.
Sales for the quarter increased 2.4 percent to $14.5 billion, up from $14.2 billion in the second quarter of 2007. For the six months ended Aug. 1, sales increased .7 percent to $26.5 billion.
Comparable store sales for the second quarter declined 5.3 percent and declined 6.7 percent in the first half of this year.
Niblock said Lowe’s saw some strength in seasonal sales as homeowners spent money restoring lawns and outdoor landscaping this past spring. He also expressed a belief that second quarter sales benefited from the federal tax rebates.
Despite the downward movement of Lowe’s earnings, Niblock said that disciplined expense controls enabled the company to deliver solid earnings for the quarter.
“We are encouraged by our results and our continued market share gains, but the macro economic factors pressuring consumers and the ongoing challenges and uncertainty of the financial markets suggest a cautious sales forecast for the balance of fiscal 2008 is prudent,” he said.
Lowe’s opened 23 new stores during the second quarter bringing the total to 1,577 stores in the United States and Canada as of Aug. 1.
During the third quarter, the company expects to open 38 new stores.
Clearly, Lowe’s is positioning itself for growth once the economy turns around.