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Lowe’s Q4 profit up 13%, to open 10 stores in 2012

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Mooresville, N.C. — Lowe’s Cos. reported Monday that profit for the quarter ended Feb. 3 rose 13% to $322 million, compared with $285 million a year earlier. Results topped Wall Street expectations and demonstrated an upward consumer swing in home-improvement projects.

Quarterly sales increased 11% to $11.6 billion from $10.5 billion, beating analysts’ expectations of $11.35 billion in revenue. Same-store sales rose 3.4%.

“In 2012, we will capitalize on refinements we have made to our operating strategies, as well as our efforts to improve the customer experience,” said Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO.

For the full year, the company said profit dipped 8.5% to $1.8 billion, sales edged up 2.9% to $50.2 billion, and same-store sales were flat.

Lowe’s said it expects to open approximately 10 stores in fiscal year 2012.

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Publix tops in customer service

BY CSA STAFF

WABAN, Mass. — Publix earned top marks for customer service in a new survey by Temkin Group. The firm rated the customer experience of 206 large companies across 18 industries.

In the grocery industry, Publix earned the top spot and is the second overall company across all 206 companies in the study. Aldi, H.E.B., and Winn-Dixie also scored very well. These four grocery chains received "excellent" customer experience ratings, a level that was only earned by eight companies across all 18 industries, Temkin Group reported.

The overall grocery industry earned the top spot out of 18 industries, slightly higher than fast food chains and retailers but well ahead of other industries. The majority of the grocery chains earned "good" ratings. Piggly Wiggly, which is the lowest scoring grocery chain, earned an "OK" rating.

"Grocery chains are doing a good job of meeting their customers’ needs," states Bruce Temkin, author of the report and Managing Partner of Temkin Group.

  • The Temkin Experience Ratings evaluates three dimensions of customer experience:

  • Accessible: How easy is it for consumers to do what they are trying to do?

  • Emotional: How do consumers feel about their interactions with companies?

  • Functional: Does the company meet consumers’ needs?

Clickhere to access the full report.

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Ex-Walmart.com CEO joins OrderGroove board

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — Former Walmart.com CEO, Raul Vazquez has joined the advisory board of OrderGroove, a subscription commerce program that helps brands identify and interact with their most valuable customers.

"I am thrilled and honored to welcome Raul to OrderGroove’s Advisory Board," said Greg Alvo, founder and CEO of OrderGroove. "Raul is a highly-regarded leader with extensive experience in e-commerce and the retail industry and he will bring incredible insight as we continue to help retailers leverage the power of subscriptions to drive customer lifetime value. We are very much looking forward to working with Raul to deliver innovative subscription commerce solutions to the world’s top brands."

As CEO of Walmart.com, Raul oversaw all day-to-day operations on the site and focused on providing multi-channel options for customers. After serving as CEO, Vazquez went on to serve as EVP Walmart West and EVP global e-commerce at Walmart.

"Consumers continue to demand a convenient and flexible e-commerce experience from retailers," said Vazquez. "OrderGroove understands how to provide a practical and customer centric solution for retailers to deliver this to their customers to drive sales and customer lifetime value. I have been very impressed with the OrderGroove platform and team and am proud to now be a part of that team as an Advisor as OrderGroove continues to grow."

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