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Lowe’s Q4 tops Street as sales jump 27%; cites broad demand across all departments

Lowe’s Cos. reported fiscal fourth-quarter profit and sales that beat expectations as spending on home projects continues to surge amid the pandemic.

The home improvement retailer reported net income of $978 million, or $1.32 a share, for the quarter ended Jan.31, compared to $509 million, or $0.66 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings totaled $1.33 per share, above analysts’ estimates of $1.21. 

Sales jumped 26.7% to $20.31 billion, beating the FactSet consensus of $19.42 billion, Same-store sales, which includes e-commerce, rose 28.1%, also more than expected. Lowe’s reported its results the day after rival Home Depot posted its fourth quarter results, which included its third consecutive month of 25% comp sales. 

Lowe’s said it invested more than $100 million in COVID-related support of frontline hourly workers during the fourth quarter, bringing its total COVID-related associate financial support to more than $900 million for fiscal 2020. For the full year, the company invested nearly $1.3 billion in COVID-related support for its employees, store safety and community 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," said CEO Marvin Ellison. “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.”

The company said it repurchased $3.4 billion worth of its shares in the fourth quarter and $5.0 billion in shares for the year, and plans to buy back $9 billion worth of stock in 2021.

At the end of the quarter, Lowe’s 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. The company operated 1,974 home improvement and hardware stores in the United States and Canada.

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