Seven takeaways from Lowe’s Q3

An investors call hits on omni-channel retailing and hurricane execution.

Lowe's says its making the shopping experience easier, in a number of ways.

Lowe’s reported third quarter sales of $16.8 billion in the third quarter, and earnings of $872 million. Here are some of the key takeaways behind the numbers.

More riders of the storm.

As Home Depot, Ace Hardware Corp. and True Value Company all described in recent days in their own quarterly reports, the third quarter’s hurricanes made for an exceptionally challenging environment. Yet, they all made it work. Here’s how Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock described it: “This quarter, our teams were tested by the largest natural disaster response we've ever mounted, and I'm extremely proud of the way they met the challenge.” The company added that it donated more than $2.5 million in disaster relief – part cash and part product donations.

Well-rounded growth

In the US., comp-store sales were positive 5.1%. All regions and all product categories showed positive comps for the quarter.

High-performance products

Some products performed better than others. LBM led all categories with a double-digit comp. The category benefited from pro demand, hurricane preparation and cleanup, and general product inflation. Appliances also generated double-digit comps. Above average comps were scored in rough plumbing and electrical.

Multi-family planning

Lowe’s recent acquisitions of Maintenance Supply Headquarters and Central Wholesalers are expected to expand penetration into the multi-family housing industry. Integration of the two entities into the Lowe’s operation “remains on track,” Niblock said.

Said COO Rick Damron: “The addition of Maintenance Supply Headquarters and Central Wholesalers further expands our capabilities to serve multi-family property management customers throughout the country with enhanced product and service offerings while strengthening our platform for future growth with this important customer.”

Digital slam dunk

The company pointed “online comp growth” of 33%. How? Through improvements in customer experience through the company’s omni-channel assets.  Damron added: “Along with our flexible fulfillment options of buy online, pick up in store and buy online deliver from store and our enhanced digital marketing, our effort combined to drive online comp growth of 33%.”

Good bye, Rick.

Damron will retire after 36 years, to be replaced by Richard Maltsbarger. “Rick has worked across every aspect of operations and has positively impacting Lowe's customers and employees. We wish him all the best in his retirement,” said Niblock.

Hello, Craftsman

In the second half of 2018, Lowe’s will add Craftsman brand products to its merchandise mix, both in-store and online. Damron described Lowe’s as the partner of choice in the home center channel.

Craftsman, which for generations was the property of Sears, is now owned by Stanley Black and Decker. “We are committed to offering a wide selection of brands DIY and Pro customers trust, and Craftsman strengthens our ability to deliver on customer expectations across many product categories,” he added.

The introduction of Craftsman will follow the introduction during the past four years of more than 25 other brands back into the product portfolio.


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