Lowe’s comparable store sales surged during the first quarter, as the home improvement retailer pivoted its operations to address the coronavirus pandemic.
The company reported net earnings of $1.3 billion and diluted earnings per share of $1.76 for the quarter ended May 1, 2020, compared to a net earnings of $1 billion and diluted EPS of $1.31 in the first quarter of 2019.
Sales for the first quarter were $19.7 billion compared to $17.7 billion in the first quarter of 2019, and comparable sales increased 11.2%. Comparable sales for the U.S. home improvement business increased 12.3% for the first quarter.
“In late February, we shifted our priorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and immediately focused on how best to serve the needs of our communities during this unprecedented time. Our highest priority remains the health and safety of our associates and community, and we have demonstrated that commitment in the first quarter through an investment of $340 million, including support for health care workers and first responders,” said Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s president and CEO. “We also enhanced the safety of our operations by shortening our store operating hours in early March, so we could increase cleaning protocols and restock shelves. And during the hours that our stores were open, we implemented significant operational changes to best facilitate social distancing.”
He added, “Our strong first quarter performance, which continues into May, also reflects the benefits of our retail fundamentals strategy, the improvement in our execution, and the resiliency of our home improvement business model. I am also pleased with our ability to pivot to serve increased online demand with Lowes.com sales increasing 80% in the quarter.”
Lowe’s noted that it has hired more than 100,000 front-line associates for the spring season.