MOORESVILLE, NC -- Lowe's Companies, Inc. reported net earnings of $450 million for the quarter ended January 30, 2015, a 47.0 percent increase over the same period a year ago. For the fiscal year ended January 30, 2015, net earnings increased 18.0 percent from the same period a year ago to $2.7 billion, and diluted earnings per share increased 26.6 percent to $2.71.
Sales for the fourth quarter increased 7.6 percent to $12.5 billion from $11.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, and comparable sales for the quarter increased 7.3 percent. Comparable sales for the U.S. business increased 7.4%. For the fiscal year, sales were $56.2 billion, a 5.3 percent increase over the same period a year ago, and comparable sales increased 4.3 percent on a consolidated basis and for the U.S. business.
"I would like to thank our employees for their hard work and dedication," commented Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's chairman, president and CEO. "Their steadfast commitment to serving customers is critical to our success, and an important driver of this quarter's strong results.
"We remain focused on improving our profitability even while investing in key capabilities to drive sales growth," Niblock added. "Our transformation is gaining momentum, and macroeconomic fundamentals are aligned for modestly stronger home improvement industry growth in 2015."
Delivering on its commitment to return excess cash to shareholders, the company repurchased $1.0 billion of stock under its share repurchase program and paid $225 million in dividends in the fourth quarter. For the fiscal year, the company repurchased $3.9 billion of stock under its share repurchase program and paid $822 million in dividends.
As of January 30, 2015, Lowe's operated 1,840 home improvement and hardware stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico representing 200.9 million square feet of retail selling space.
Lowe's Business Outlook
Total sales are expected to increase 4.5 to 5 percent.
Comparable sales are expected to increase 4 to 4.5 percent.
The company expects to open 15 to 20 home improvement and hardware stores.
Earnings before interest and taxes as a percentage of sales (operating margin) are expected to increase 80 to 100 basis points.
The effective income tax rate is expected to be approximately 38.1%.
Diluted earnings per share of approximately $3.29 are expected for the fiscal year ending January 29, 2016.