Lowe’s reports fiscal Q4 sales, earnings

Decline in DIY activity, harsh winter weather led to 16.9% drop in overall Q4 sales, 6.2% decline in comp-store sales

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — A decrease in DIY demand along with unfavorable January weather resulted in a 16.9% drop in total sales at home improvement retailer Lowe’s Cos. during its fiscal fourth quarter ended Feb. 2.

The company also reported a 6.2% decline in comparable-store sales during the same period.

Total sales for the quarter were $18.6 billion, compared to $22.4 billion in the same quarter last year. The company said the prior year sales included about $1.4 billion in revenues from an additional 53rd week along with $958 million in sales from its Canadian business, which it sold in early 2023 to private equity firm Sycamore Partners.

It also reported net earnings of $1 billion, or $1.77 per share, compared to net earnings of $957 million, or $1.58 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2022, which the company said included pretax transaction costs associated with the sale of its Canadian retail business. Excluding these transaction costs in the prior year, fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share were $2.28.

“This quarter we delivered strong operating profit and improved customer satisfaction, despite the continued pullback in DIY spending,” said Marvin R. Ellison, Lowe’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We remain confident in the long-term strength of the home improvement market, and we are making the right investments in our Total Home strategy to take share. We are also pleased to award $140 million in discretionary bonuses to our frontline associates in recognition of their exceptional customer service in 2023.”

For the full year, the company reported $86.4 billion in sales, down 11% from the $97.1 billion reported the prior fiscal year. Net earnings were $7.7 billion, or $13.20 per share, compared with $6.4 billion, or $10.17 per share, the prior fiscal year.

Lowe’s operates 1,746 stores representing 194.9 million square feet of retail selling space. It was listed at No. 26 on Home News Now’s 125 Furniture and Bedding Retailers with an estimated $815 million in furniture and bedding sales in 2022, the latest full year for which sales figures in the home furnishings were available. Most of this is sold through its website, where customers can order product and pick it up at the store or have it delivered to their home.

A company investor presentation showed these additional highlights for the quarter and the full fiscal year.

+ Gross margins for the quarter totaled 32.4%, up 7 basis points from last year. For the year, gross margins were 33.4%, up 291 basis points.

+ The average comp ticket during Q4 was $100.45, down .1%. For the year, the average comp ticket was $101.58, also down .1%.  

+ Comp sales were up in 7 of 14 categories for the quarter, including building materials, paint, hardware, rough plumbing, lawn and garden, millwork and lumber. For the full year, they also were up in 7 of 14 categories including building materials, paint, hardware, rough plumbing, lawn and garden, millwork and tools.

+ Online sales dropped .2% during the quarter, but grew 2.3% for the year.

For the full year 2024, it projects:

+ Total sales of $84 billion to $85 billion and a 2% to 3% decline in comparable-store sales.

+ Operating income as a percentage of sales (operating margin) of 12.6% to 12.7%.

+ Diluted earnings per share between $12 and $12.30.

+ Capital expenditures of about $2 billion.

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at tom@homenewsnow.com and at 336-508-4616.

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