MOORESVILLE, N.C.-Lowe’s ended its fiscal year on a high note with a 13 percent increase in its fourth-quarter net income, to $322 million. For the fiscal year as a whole, however, the home-improvement retailer’s bottom line dropped 8.5 percent to $1.8 billion.
The company benefited from a strong sales gain of 11 percent in the quarter, to $11.6 billion, which included a 3.4 percent pickup in same-store sales. For the year, net sales rose 2.9 percent to $50.2 billion, with same-store sales being essentially flat.
Gross margin for the quarter, which ended on Feb. 3, were down 133 basis points to 34.2 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 7.8 percent in dollars, but were slimmed down 76 basis points as a percentage of sales to 25.9 percent.
Robert Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO, said the retailer made progress in the fiscal year “toward delivering better customer experiences and transforming our business to drive long-term sales growth, increased profitability and shareholder value.” This fiscal year, “we will capitalize on refinements we have made to our operating strategies as well as our efforts to improve the customer experience,” Niblock said.
Lowe’s has also promoted Kevin Measel to senior vice president of store operations for its West division. Measel is now in charge of operations for stores in Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Missouri and portions of Texas, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.
He reports to Rick Damron, executive vice president of store operations, and has succeeded Jim Frasso, who retired after a 17-year career with Lowe’s. Before assuming his new post, Measel was merchandising vice president for nursery.