Lowe’s Reports Increase In Fourth Quarter Earnings (NYSE: LOW)

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. reported a 6.3 percent increase in earnings over the same period a year ago. Net earnings of $306 million, or $0.29 per share were reported for the quarter ended January 31, 2014. Net earnings for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2014 were 16.7 percent higher than last year at $2.3 billion.

Charges related to long-lived asset impairments are included in the reported results. These charges reduced pre-tax earnings for the fourth quarter by $32 million and reduced earnings per share by $0.02. The results reported for the same period a year ago included charges related to long-lived asset impairments and discontinued projects. Last year, these charges reduced pre-tax earnings by $8 million and the impact on earnings per share was insignificant.

In the fourth quarter, sales increased 5.6 percent to come in at a reported $11.7 billion. This was up from $11.0 billion reported in the fourth quarter of 2012. For the fiscal year, sales saw a 5.7 percent increase over fiscal year 2012, coming in at $53.4 billion.

In a statement, Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO, said, “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.”

Niblock continued, ‚ÄúDuring 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.”

In the fourth quarter, the company repurchased $958 million of stock and paid $189 million in dividends. The company has repurchased $3.7 billion of stock and paid $733 million in dividends for the fiscal year. The Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase of an additional $5 billion of the company’s common stock to further deliver on the commitment to return excess cash to shareholders.