Lowe's Companies Inc LOW
Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 05/22/2013

Operator: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the Lowe's Companies' First Quarter 2013 Earnings Conference Call. This call is being recorded.

Statements made during this call will include forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Management's expectations and opinions reflected in those statements are subject to risks and the Company can give no assurance that they will prove to be correct. Those risks are described in the Company's earnings release and in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Also, during this call, management will be using certain non-GAAP financial measures. You can find a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures and other information about them as well as reference slides pertaining to first quarter results posted on Lowe's Investor Relations website under Investor Documents.

Hosting today's conference will be; Mr. Robert Niblock, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer; Mr. Rick Damron, Chief Operating Officer; and Mr. Bob Hull, Chief Financial Officer.

I will now turn the program over to Mr. Niblock for opening remarks. Please go ahead, sir.

Robert A. Niblock - Chairman, President and CEO: Good morning, and thanks for your interest in Lowe's. Let me start by expressing our sympathy for those impacted by the devastating storms in Oklahoma and throughout the Midwestern Plains.

Our team members stand ready to assist the affected communities in the days and weeks ahead. And as we’ve done in the past when natural disaster strikes, Lowe's stores around the country as well as will become official donation sites for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Lowe’s is contributing $1 million to the relief efforts through the American Red Cross and other partner organizations.

Following my remarks, Rick Damron will review our operational performance in the quarter and Bob Hull will review our financing results in detail. But first, one housekeeping note.

For the first time, we’re providing slides on our Investor Relations website to supplement our call. We encourage you to download the slides to facilitate your review of our result and to use as a reference document following the call.

Now, for some highlights of the first quarter. Our plan assumed normal weather based on historical multiyear averages; but as you know, temperatures were cooler and precipitation greater than normal for much of the quarter resulting in a delayed spring selling season. As a result, comparable sales for the quarter were negative 0.7% driven by decrease in comp transactions.

The month of March was particularly soft with the roughly 10% comp decline, but April improved significantly resulting in positive comps of approximately 10%. We have maintained that positive comp momentum through the first few weeks of May and I'd like to thank our employees for their hard work and continued dedication to serving customers.

For the first quarter, 7 of 12 product categories had positive comps; but as you might expect, seasonal categories such as Lawn & Garden and Seasonal Living fell short of our expectations. In fact, comps for indoor products were positive approximately 3% while comps for outdoor products declined approximately 7%.

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