MOORESVILLE, NC -- Lowe's Companies, Inc. reported net earnings of $306 million for the quarter ended January 31, 2014, a 6.3 percent increase over the same period a year ago.
Included in the above reported results are charges related to long-lived asset impairments which reduced pre-tax earnings for the fourth quarter by $32 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.02. For the same period a year ago, reported results included charges related to long-lived asset impairments and discontinued projects which reduced pre-tax earnings by $8 million and had an insignificant impact on diluted earnings per share.
Sales for the fourth quarter increased 5.6 percent to $11.7 billion from $11.0 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, and comparable sales increased 3.9 percent. For the fiscal year, sales were $53.4 billion, a 5.7 percent increase over fiscal year 2012, and comparable sales increased 4.8 percent.
"I am pleased with the progress we made throughout 2013, and would like to thank our employees. They have shown unrelenting determination to provide outstanding service to customers every day in each market we serve, as we transform our company," commented Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's chairman, president and CEO.
"During the quarter, we delivered solid performance in core home improvement categories, balancing softer sales of seasonal gifts and holiday decorations. When extreme winter weather arrived late in the quarter, our distribution network responded quickly and efficiently to move product where it was most needed," Niblock added.
Delivering on the commitment to return excess cash to shareholders, the company repurchased $958 million of stock and paid $189 million in dividends in the fourth quarter. For the fiscal year, the company repurchased $3.7 billion of stock and paid $733 million in dividends.
To further deliver on this commitment, the Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase of an additional $5 billion of the company's common stock. The remaining balance of $1.3 billion under the previous authorization will continue to be utilized, for a total authorization of $6.3 billion as of January 31, 2014.
The company said it expected sales to increase approximately 5 percent for the coming year.