Lowe's Companies, Inc. 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, increased profitability and enhanced shareholder value when the company meets with analysts and investors today in Mooresville, North Carolina at its annual conference.
Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's chairman, president and CEO, said, "We are in the process of transforming Lowe's from a home improvement retailer to a home improvement company -- a company committed to delivering better customer experiences across the entire home improvement spectrum, by pulling together the best combination of possibilities, support and value for customers wherever and whenever they choose to engage. By enhancing our customer experience, we will drive long-term sales growth, increase profitability and enhance shareholder value.
"Moreover, our strong financial position and cash flow allow us to invest in this transformational effort. These investments are part of a disciplined capital allocation strategy, and we are committed to returning excess cash to shareholders through dividends and our share repurchase program," Niblock concluded.
During the investor conference, senior Lowe's executives will focus on the strategic investments and critical decisions made in 2011 that position the company for success and will update its long-term financial targets. Highlights of the presentations include:
Thomas J. Lamb,senior vice president of marketing and advertising: "We will lead customers through the journey of home improvement, from inspiration and planning to completion and enjoyment. We will do it, project after project, over the course of their home improvement lifetime, and we will know them well enough to anticipate their needs, helping them manage their homes as a neighbor, not merely as a supplier."
Robert J. Gfeller, Jr.,executive vice president of merchandising: "While customers seek good prices, they also expect high quality and innovation. Currently, most customers do not perceive a high level of differentiation in the home improvement sector. This creates a great opportunity for Lowe's."
Rick D. Damron,executive vice president of store operations: "This was the year we made the tough decisions and the right investments to better position ourselves to execute well in the near-term and carry our company into the future. We strive to provide customers with a differentiated experience, one that is simple and optimized across selling channels."
Robert F. Hull, Jr.,executive vice president and CFO: "Our goal is to drive return on invested capital by growing profits faster than sales and sales faster than assets. In doing this, we expect to generate strong free cash flow and return significant capital to shareholders."
Today, Lowe's also reiterated its prior sales and earnings guidance for the 2011 fiscal year, which was provided in its November 14, 2011 earnings release.
Total sales are expected to increase 2 to 3 percent, including the 53rd week. The 53rd week is expected to increase total sales by approximately 1.5 percent. The company expects comparable store sales to decline approximately 1 percent.
The company also expects to open approximately 25 stores in 2011. Earnings before interest and taxes as a percentage of sales (operating margin) are expected to decrease 80 to 90 basis points, which includes approximately 80 basis points impact from charges associated with store closings and discontinued projects. Depreciation expense is expected to be approximately $1.5 billion. Diluted earnings per share of $1.37 to $1.40 are expected for the fiscal year ending February 3, 2012, which includes approximately $0.20 per share impact from changes associated with store closings and discontinued projects.
Lowe's to discuss plans, position at investor conference
December 6, 2011