Lowe’s Reports 4th Quarter 2020 Sales & Earnings Results

MOORESVILLE, N.C., Feb. 24, 2021 — Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) today reported net earnings of $978 million and diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.32 for the quarter ended January 29, 2021 compared to net earnings of $509 million and diluted EPS of $0.66 in the fourth quarter of 2019.  Excluding charges in both periods related to the strategic review of certain operations, fourth quarter adjusted diluted EPS increased 41.5 percent to $1.33 from adjusted diluted EPS of $0.94 in the fourth quarter of 20191.

Total sales for the fourth quarter were $20.3 billion compared to $16.0 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, and comparable sales increased 28.1 percent.  Comparable sales for the U.S. home improvement business increased 28.6 percent for the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Company invested over $100 million in COVID-related support of frontline hourly associates, bringing its total COVID-related associate financial support to more than $900 million for fiscal 2020.  As a reflection of its commitment to supporting its associates and communities, Lowe’s invested nearly $1.3 billion in COVID-related support for its associates, store safety and community pandemic relief in fiscal 2020. 

“Strong execution enabled us to meet broad-based demand driven by the continued consumer focus on the home, with growth over 16% in all merchandising departments, over 19% across all U.S. regions and 121% on Lowes.com.  I would like to thank our front-line associates for their continued dedication to serving our customers and communities and supporting safety in our stores.  I am pleased with our progress in 2020 as we generated nearly $90 billion in sales, with annual sales growth of over $17 billion, while also enhancing our operating efficiency.  Looking ahead to 2021, we expect to grow market share and drive further operating margin expansion,” commented Marvin R. Ellison, Lowe’s president and CEO.

Capital Allocation

The Company repurchased 21.1 million shares for $3.4 billion during the quarter, and it paid $452 million in dividends.  For the year, capital returns to shareholders totaled $6.7 billion, with $5.0 billion in share repurchases and $1.7 billion in dividends.

At quarter-end, the Company had $4.7 billion of cash and cash equivalents as well as $3.0 billion in undrawn capacity on its revolving credit facilities, which will be available for any unanticipated liquidity needs. 

As of January 29, 2021, Lowe’s operated 1,974 home improvement and hardware stores in the United States and Canada representing 208 million square feet of retail selling space, and it serviced approximately 230 dealer-owned stores.

A conference call to discuss fourth quarter 2020 operating results is scheduled for today, Wednesday, February 24, at 9:00 am ET.  The conference call will be available by webcast and can be accessed by visiting Lowe’s website at ir.lowes.com and clicking on Lowe’s Fourth Quarter 2020 Earnings Conference Call Webcast.  Supplemental slides will be available approximately 15 minutes prior to the start of the conference call.  A replay of the call will be archived at ir.lowes.com.

Lowe’s Business Outlook

The Company delivered very strong financial results in the fourth quarter of 2020, with continued sales momentum in February.  The Company is reiterating the perspectives provided at the December 9, 2020 Investor Update, during which the Company presented its planning expectations for three potential scenarios for 2021 which assume modest mix-adjusted market contraction.  In each of these scenarios, the Company expects to drive further market share gains and operating margin improvement.  Additionally, consistent with expectations provided at the Investor Update, the Company is planning for $9 billion in share repurchases and $2 billion in capital expenditures in 2021. 

Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) is a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company serving approximately 20 million customers a week in the United States and Canada. With fiscal year 2020 sales of nearly $90 billion, Lowe’s and its related businesses operate or service more than 2,200 home improvement and hardware stores and employ over 300,000 associates. Based in Mooresville, N.C., Lowe’s supports the communities it serves through programs focused on creating safe, affordable housing and helping to develop the next generation of skilled trade experts. For more information, visit Lowes.com.

Disclosure Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Statements including words such as “believe”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “plan”, “desire”, “project”, “estimate”, “intend”, “will”, “should”, “could”, “would”, “may”, “strategy”, “potential”, “opportunity”, “outlook”, “scenario”, “guidance”, and similar expressions are forward-looking statements.  Forward-looking statements involve, among other things, expectations, projections, and assumptions about future financial and operating results, objectives, business outlook, priorities, sales growth, shareholder value, capital expenditures, cash flows, the housing market, the home improvement industry, demand for products and services, share repurchases, Lowe’s strategic initiatives, including those relating to acquisitions and dispositions and the impact of such transactions on our strategic and operational plans and financial results.  Such statements involve risks and uncertainties and we can give no assurance that they will prove to be correct.  Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements.

A wide variety of potential risks, uncertainties, and other factors could materially affect our ability to achieve the results either expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, changes in general economic conditions, such as the rate of unemployment, interest rate and currency fluctuations, fuel and other energy costs, slower growth in personal income, changes in consumer spending, changes in the rate of housing turnover, the availability of consumer credit and of mortgage financing, changes in commodity prices, changes or threatened changes in tariffs, outbreak of public health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, availability and cost of goods from suppliers, changes in our management and key personnel, and other factors that can negatively affect our customers. 

Investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties, risks and potential events including, but not limited to, those described in “Item 1A – Risk Factors” in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and as may be updated from time to time in Item 1A in our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q or other subsequent filings with the SEC. All such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and we do not undertake any obligation to update these statements other than as required by law. 

Lowe’s Companies, Inc.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures Reconciliation (Unaudited)

To provide additional transparency, the Company has presented the non-GAAP financial measure of adjusted diluted earnings per share for comparing its operating performance for the three months and fiscal year ended January 29, 2021, with the respective periods ended January 31, 2020.  This measure excludes the impact of certain discrete items, as further described below, not contemplated in Lowe’s Business Outlook to assist analysts and investors in understanding operational performance for fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2019.

Fiscal 2020 Impacts

During fiscal 2020, the Company recognized financial impacts from the following discrete items, not contemplated in the Company’s Business Outlook for the fourth quarter and fiscal year:

  • In the third quarter of fiscal 2019, the Company began a strategic review of its Canadian operations, and in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, the Company announced additional restructuring actions to improve future performance and profitability of its Canadian operations. As a result of these actions, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, the Company recognized $12 million of pre-tax operating costs related to inventory write-downs and other closing costs. Total pre-tax charges for fiscal 2020 were $45 million (Canada restructuring), and;
  • In the third quarter of fiscal 2020, the Company recognized a $1.1 billion loss on extinguishment of debt in connection with a $3.0 billion cash tender offer (Loss on extinguishment of debt).

Fiscal 2019 Impacts

During fiscal 2019, the Company recognized financial impacts from the following discrete items, not contemplated in the Company’s Business Outlook for the fourth quarter and fiscal year:

  • Prior to the beginning of fiscal 2019, the Company announced its intention to exit its Mexico retail operations and had planned to sell the operating business. However, in the first quarter of fiscal 2019, after an extensive market evaluation, the decision was made to instead sell the assets of the business. That decision resulted in a tax benefit in the first quarter. During the fourth quarter, pre-tax operating losses associated with the exit and ongoing wind-down of Mexico retail operations totaled $9 million. Total pre-tax operating costs and charges for fiscal 2019 were $35 million, which were offset by $82 million tax benefit (Mexico adjustments), and;
  • During the third quarter of fiscal 2019, the Company began a strategic review of its Canadian operations resulting in pre-tax charges of $53 million associated with long-lived asset impairment. In the fourth quarter, the Company recognized $176 million of pre-tax operating costs and charges related to inventory liquidation, accelerated depreciation and amortization, severance and other costs, as well as a net $26 million impact to income tax expense related to income tax valuation allowance. Total pre-tax operating costs and charges for fiscal 2019 were $230 million (Canada restructuring).

Adjusted diluted earnings per share should not be considered an alternative to, or more meaningful indicator of, the Company’s diluted earnings per share as prepared in accordance with GAAP.  The Company’s methods of determining non-GAAP financial measures may differ from the method used by other companies and may not be comparable.

Detailed reconciliations between the Company’s GAAP and non-GAAP financial results are shown on the Company’s website at www.lowes.com/investor.

From Lowe’s Website as first published on /PRNewswire/

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