Lowe’s comps crack 30%, again

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Lowe’s comps crack 30%, again

By HBSDealer Staff - 11/18/2020

Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s broke the 30% comp-store-sales barrier for the second straight quarter, as customers continued to spend on their home in a socially distanced environment.

U.S. comps were positive 30.4%. CEO Marvin Ellison described board-based demand across the aisles – 15% or higher growth in all merchandising departments, and 20% or higher growth in all geographic regions.

Sales were $22.3 billion, up 28.3% from $17.4 billion in the same quarter last year.

Net earnings of $692 million were down $1.05 billion. The current quarter’s tally included a $1.1 billion pre-tax loss on extinguishment of debt related to its third-quarter $3 billion cash tender offer.

“We continued to invest in the future growth of the company, including a $100 million investment in the quarter as part of an ongoing effort to reset the layout of our U.S. stores, making them easier to shop with improved product adjacencies, especially for Pro customers,” Ellison said.

And in the eCommerce arena, Lowe’s pointed to an increase in sales at Lowes.com of 106%.

Pandemic responses also factored heavily in the third quarter earnings report.

In the past three months, the company invested $245 million in COVID-related support of frontline hourly associates, bringing its total COVID-related associate financial support to more than $800 million this year.  As a reflection of its commitment to supporting its associates and communities, Lowe's has invested more than $1.1 billion in COVID-related support for its associates, store safety and community pandemic relief through the first nine months of fiscal 2020.

Lowe’s earnings results were released one day after home-center rival Home Depot reported its third quarter results. The numbers show Lowe’s ahead of Home Depot in comp-store sales for the third consecutive quarter. Home Depot’s net income, however, surpassed Lowe’s significantly ($3.4 billion vs. $692 million).

After taking a break from forecasting in the face of the uncertainties caused by the pandemic, Lowe’s returned to the practice of offering guidance. Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, Lowe’s expects total and comparable store sales growth of 15% to 20%.

Lowe’s ended the quarter with 1,969 stores.

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