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Lowe’s handing out employee bonuses

BY HBSDealer Staff

Lowe's reported today that it will enhance employee benefits, including expanded maternity and parental leave as well as adoption assistance.

The company will also said it will give a one-time bonus of up to $1,000 to its more than 260,000 hourly U.S. employees. The bonus will be paid in addition to the company's long-standing, store-level bonus program.

"We are investing in our employees who make a difference every day in the communities where we live and work," Robert Niblock, Lowe's chairman, president and CEO, said in a prepared statement released this morning. "Our employees are the foundation of our business, and we are excited to enhance our benefits to better meet their needs and the needs of their families."

Lowe's will award the one-time cash bonus to eligible full- and part-time hourly employees across all its U.S. facilities including: stores, customer support centers, contact centers, and distribution centers, the Mooresville, N.C.-based retailer said.

"Today's announcement is another example of how we will continue to invest in our employee and customer experience as we continue to evaluate the impact of tax reform," Niblock said.

Lowe's estimates that the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will result in additional net tax expense of approximately $75 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. This charge, coupled with the one-time bonus, is expected to negatively impact the company's 2017 fourth quarter diluted earnings-per-share by approximately $0.14.

For fiscal 2018, Lowe's estimates that the net impact of tax reform on its tax provision and cash taxes paid will be positive. The company will continue to make investments to better meet the needs of customers and its employees. Lowe's will report its fourth quarter 2017 earnings on Feb. 28.

In addition to the company's benefits program, eligible full-time hourly and salaried U.S. employees will qualify to receive 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and two weeks of paid parental leave; an adoption assistance benefit to cover up to $5,000 of expenses related to agency, legal, and other fees; and the ability to enroll in health benefits sooner, as early as the first of the month following 30 days of service at the company.

These enhancements follow the company's recent hiring announcement to recruit more than 53,000 seasonal associates nationwide to better serve customers and communities.

Several companies have announced new bonus programs following recent federal tax changes, including Lowe’s chief rival The Home Depot.

Lowe’s operates more 2,370 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico and had sales of $65.0 billion in 2016.

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Tractor Supply Q4 earnings slide

BY HBSDealer Staff

Tractor Supply reported fourth quarter 2017 sales increased 1.9% to $1.95 billion from $1.92 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016.

While Comp sales rose 4% for the quarter the Brentwood, Tenn.-based retailer said the prior year’s fourth quarter included an extra sales week as part of the company’s 53-week calendar in 2016, which negatively impacted the overall sales increase by approximately 6.7 percentage points.

For the year, net sales increased 7% to $7.26 billion in 2017 from $6.78 billion in fiscal 2016. Comparable store sales increased 2.7% for the year.

Tractor Supply also reported a net income of $109.7 million for the fourth quarter 2017, a 12.7% drop compared to net income of $123.6 million in the fourth quarter 2016. For the year, the company posted a net income of $422.6 million, a 3.4% slide from a net income of $437.1 million in 2016.

The company opened 27 new Tractor Supply stores and closed seven Del’s stores in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to 21 new store openings and one closure of a Del’s store in the prior year period. Additionally, in the fourth quarter of 2017, the company opened 6 new Petsense stores and had no Petsense store closures compared to 8 store openings and 1 store closure during the fourth quarter of 2016.  

For the full year, Tractor Supply opened 101 new Tractor Supply stores, converted its 2 Hometown Pet stores to Petsense stores, and closed 9 Del’s stores in fiscal 2017 as compared to 113 new store openings and 6 Del’s store closures during fiscal 2016. The Company also opened 25 new Petsense stores, including the conversion of 2 Hometown Pet stores, during fiscal 2017 and had no Petsense store closures.

Tractor Supply also said that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed last December was will have a positive impact on its effective tax rate in 2018 and subsequent years. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is expected to reduce the company’s effective tax rate in 2018 from approximately 36.7% to approximately 23.0% to 23.5%. 

As of Dec. 30, 2017, Tractor Supply operated 1,685 stores in 49 states along with 168 Petsense stores in 26 states. 

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HBSDealer Stock Watch: Declines continue

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Wednesday marked the third day in a row of declining stocks in the hardware and building supply industry.

Despite a strong sales in the third quarter, the most dramatic drop on the chart belonged to EXP, down 4.8%.  LL was down 4.4%’; and SHLD was down 3.4%. BXC and WY bucked the trend by increasing more than 2% on the day.

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