MOORESVILLE, N.C., Nov. 20, 2019 — Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) today reported net earnings of $1.0 billion and diluted earnings per share of $1.36 for the quarter ended Nov. 1, 2019, which included non-cash pre-tax charges of $53 million further described below, compared to net earnings of $629 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.78 in the third quarter of 2018. Excluding the impact of these charges, adjusted diluted earnings per share1 increased 35.6 percent to $1.41 from adjusted diluted earnings per share1 of $1.04 in the third quarter of 2018.
The $53 million non-cash pre-tax charges referenced above resulted from the company initiating a strategic review of its Canadian operations during the third quarter. This review led to long-lived asset impairments and a change to the Canadian leadership team in the third quarter. Based on the findings of the strategic review, in the fourth quarter, the company decided to take the following actions to improve future sales performance and profitability:
- Close 34 underperforming stores in Canada;
- Undertake a process to simplify multiple Canadian store banners to drive efficiency and reduce operational complexity;
- Reorganize the corporate support structure across Canada to more efficiently serve stores; and
- Rationalize the product assortment across the simplified Canadian store banners, to present a more coordinated assortment to the customer.
Additional pre-tax operating costs and charges of $175 to $225 million consisting of inventory liquidation, accelerated depreciation and amortization, severance and other costs are expected to be incurred in the fourth quarter of 2019, and have been reflected in the company’s updated GAAP business outlook.
Sales for the third quarter were $17.4 billion and consolidated comparable sales increased 2.2 percent. Comparable sales for the U.S. home improvement business increased 3.0 percent.
“We were pleased with the performance of our U.S. home improvement stores, which reflects a solid macroeconomic backdrop and continued progress in our transformation driven by investments in customer experience, improved merchandise category performance, and continued growth of our Pro business. Due to improved execution, we delivered strong earnings per share growth, and as a result, we are raising our adjusted earnings per share and adjusted operating income guidance for 2019,” commented Marvin R. Ellison, Lowe’s president and CEO.
1 Adjusted operating margin and adjusted diluted earnings per share are non-GAAP financial measures. Refer to the “Non-GAAP Financial Measures Reconciliation” section of this release for additional information as well as a reconciliation between the Company’s GAAP and non-GAAP financial results.
“Although we still have work to do, I am confident we are on the right path to build a better Lowe’s and generate long-term profitable growth. We are committed to the Canadian market and are taking decisive action to improve the performance and profitability of our Canadian operations. We also have a detailed roadmap and a very experienced team in place to repair our Lowes.com business. As we enter the fourth quarter, we are building strong momentum in the U.S. and are well positioned to deliver strong topline performance, while also driving margin improvement and operational efficiency. We are excited about the progress we’ve made and the opportunity that lies ahead. I would like to thank our associates for their commitment and dedication to serving our customers and communities,” added Ellison.
Delivering on its commitment to return excess cash to shareholders, the company repurchased $835 million of stock under its share repurchase program and paid $428 million in dividends in the third quarter.
As of Nov. 1, 2019, Lowe’s operated 2,004 home improvement and hardware stores in the United States and Canada representing 208.9 million square feet of retail selling space.
A conference call to discuss third quarter 2019 operating results is scheduled for today (Wednesday, Nov. 20) at 9:00 am ET. The conference call will be available by webcast and can be accessed by visiting Lowe’s website at www.Lowes.com/investor and clicking on Lowe’s Third Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call Webcast. Supplemental materials will be available approximately 15 minutes prior to the start of the conference call. A replay of the call will be archived on Lowes.com/investor until Feb. 25, 2020.
Lowe’s Business Outlook
The company has updated its GAAP business outlook to reflect pre-tax operating costs and charges associated with its Canadian restructuring, as well as its expectations for fourth quarter operating results.
The company has raised its 2019 adjusted operating margin1 and adjusted diluted earnings per share1 outlook, reflecting its expectations for fourth quarter operating results.
Fiscal Year 2019 (comparisons to fiscal year 2018)
- Total sales are expected to increase approximately 2 percent.
- Comparable sales are expected to increase approximately 3 percent.
- Operating income as a percentage of sales (operating margin) is expected to increase 290 to 320 basis points.
- Adjusted operating income as a percentage of sales (adjusted operating margin1) is expected to increase 40 to 60 basis points.
- The effective income tax rate and adjusted effective income tax rate are expected to be approximately 24%.
- The target leverage ratio is 2.75x, therefore the company expects to repurchase approximately $4 billion of stock.
- Diluted earnings per share of $5.35 to $5.47 are expected for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2020.
- Adjusted diluted earnings per share1 of $5.63 to $5.70 are expected for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2020.
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” and similar expressions are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, expectations, projections, goals, forecasts, assumptions, risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about future financial and operating results, Lowe’s plans, objectives, business outlook, priorities, expectations and intentions, expectations for sales growth, comparable sales, earnings and performance, shareholder value, capital expenditures, cash flows, the housing market, the home improvement industry, demand for services, share repurchases, Lowe’s strategic initiatives, including those relating to acquisitions and dispositions by Lowe’s and the expected impact of such transactions on our strategic and operational plans and financial results, and any statement of an assumption underlying any of the foregoing and other statements that are not historical facts. Although we believe that the expectations, opinions, projections and comments reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, such statements involve risks and uncertainties and we can give no assurance that such statements 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, inflation or deflation of commodity prices, recently enacted, proposed or threatened tariffs, disruptions caused by our recent management and key personnel changes, and other factors that can negatively affect our customers, as well as our ability to: (i) respond to adverse trends in the housing industry, a reduced rate of growth in household formation, and slower rates of growth in housing renovation and repair activity, as well as uneven recovery in commercial building activity; (ii) secure, develop, and otherwise implement new technologies and processes necessary to realize the benefits of our strategic initiatives focused on omni-channel sales and marketing presence and enhance our efficiency, and otherwise successfully execute on our strategy and implement our strategic initiatives, including acquisitions, dispositions and the closing of certain stores and facilities; (iii) attract, train, and retain highly-qualified associates; (iv) manage our business effectively as we adapt our operating model to meet the changing expectations of our customers; (v) maintain, improve, upgrade and protect our critical information systems from system outages, data security breaches, ransomware and other cyber threats; (vi) respond to fluctuations in the prices and availability of services, supplies, and products; (vii) respond to the growth and impact of competition; (viii) address changes in existing or new laws or regulations that affect consumer credit, employment/labor, trade, product safety, transportation/logistics, energy costs, health care, tax, environmental issues or privacy and data protection; (ix) positively and effectively manage our public image and reputation and respond appropriately to unanticipated failures to maintain a high level of product and service quality that could result in a negative impact on customer confidence and adversely affect sales; and (x) effectively manage our relationships with selected suppliers of brand name products and key vendors and service providers, including third party installers. In addition, we could experience impairment losses and other charges if either the actual results of our operating stores are not consistent with the assumptions and judgments we have made in estimating future cash flows and determining asset fair values, or we are required to reduce the carrying amount of our investment in certain unconsolidated entities. With respect to acquisitions and dispositions, potential risks include the effect of such transactions on Lowe’s and the target company’s or operating business’s strategic relationships, operating results and businesses generally; our ability to integrate or divest personnel, labor models, financial, IT and other systems successfully; disruption of our ongoing business and distraction of management; hiring additional management and other critical personnel; increasing or decreasing the scope, geographic diversity and complexity of our operations; significant integration or disposition costs or unknown liabilities; and failure to realize the expected benefits of the transaction. For more information about these and other risks and uncertainties that we are exposed to, you should read the “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations-Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates” included in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and the description of material changes thereto, if any, included in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q or subsequent filings with the SEC.
The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified in their entirety by the foregoing cautionary statements. The foregoing list of important factors that may affect future results is not exhaustive. When relying on forward-looking statements to make decisions, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. All such forward-looking statements are based upon data available as of the date of this release or other specified date and speak only as of such date. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to us or any person acting on our behalf about any of the matters covered in this release are qualified by these cautionary statements and in the “Risk Factors” included in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and the description of material changes thereto, if any, included in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q or subsequent filings with the SEC. We expressly disclaim any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, change in circumstances, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by law.
Lowe’s Companies, Inc.
Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) is a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company serving more than 18 million customers a week in the United States and Canada. With fiscal year 2018 sales of $71.3 billion, Lowe’s and its related businesses operate or service more than 2,200 home improvement and hardware stores and employ approximately 300,000 associates. Founded in 1946 and 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.