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Better Retailing Key To Lowe’s Revival

Today, the Lowe’s Cos., Inc. told analysts and investors that it would get back on track by providing a better shopping environment for consumers who will more readily invest in their homes as the housing market revives. The company said its strategy going forward would focus on previously discussed elements of improving value and differentiating product assortment.

As executives outlined the focus of its annual analysts and investors conference in the company’s hometown of Mooresville, NC, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO Robert Niblock stated, “We know consumers’ affinity for their homes remains strong even as we emerge from the worst housing downturn since the Great Depression. As a result, we’re focused on transforming Lowe’s to be the first choice for home improvement by providing better experiences. With the infrastructure we have in place and the changes we’re making, we expect to generate significant cash flow for years to come. We will use that cash flow to make investments in our core business, in other strategic opportunities to serve developing home improvement markets and to return capital to shareholders.”

The conference schedule calls for key executives to offer their takes on the company’s future operations. Among the observations of executives entering the meetings:

  • Gregory Bridgeford, chief customer officer: “We are building on our core strengths with value improvement and product differentiation. These focus areas are expected to deliver comparable store transaction growth, higher gross margins and improved inventory productivity. You might think of value improvement as the inner circle enhancing the core and product differentiation as the outer circle driving excitement and flexibility.”
  • Rick Damron, chief operating officer: “We will evolve our sales culture across all channels to better understand and serve customers’ needs and further leverage our investments in technology. This next phase of our transformation is focused on our associates and their relationship with customers. It is a shift from a transaction-oriented culture to a project-oriented culture with a particular focus on lead conversion and average ticket growth.”
  • Robert Hull, Jr., CFO: “We are focused on building the experiences customers want and are dedicated to finishing our journey. Differentiated experiences will lead to brand advocacy and loyalty, which in turn drives return on invested capital and shareholder returns.”

In his presentation, Bridgeford noted that Lowe’s would focus on customer value priorities by delivering competitive prices, consistently providing lowest prices and offering good value for the money. With those ends in mind, Lowe’s will reset substantially all stores by mid-2013. Improving endcap organization and performance will be a priority in the reset, Bridgeford related.