FINANCE

Lowe’s reports sales, earnings gains on warmer weather

BY Staff Writer

New York — Lowe’s reported net earnings of $527 million for the quarter ended May 4, a 14.3% increase over the same period a year ago.

Sales for the quarter increased 7.9% to $13.2 billion, from $12.2 billion in the first quarter of 2011.

Comparable-store sales for the quarter increased 2.6%, while comparable-store sales for the U.S. business increased 2.7%.

“We delivered solid results for the quarter, consistent with our expectation at the beginning of the year,” said Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO. “While we capitalized on better than anticipated weather during most of the quarter, demand for seasonal products slowed toward the end.”

Lowe’s results follow a few days after its rival Home Depot announced first quarter sales and earnings increases of 5.9% and 27.5%, respectively.

Included in the results is a charge related to a previously announced reduction in staff at U.S. headquarters. This charge reduced pre-tax earnings for the first quarter by $17 million.

“We continue to maintain a cautious view of the housing and macro demand environment, and are focused on what we can control,” Niblock added. “We are building on our core strengths and strategically investing in ways that will better position Lowe’s for success. I would like to express my gratitude to our employees for their continued dedication and customer focus.”

Lowe’s operate 1,747 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico representing 196.7 million sq. ft. of retail selling space.

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News

No more child’s play for American Eagle

BY CSA STAFF

PITTSBURGH — American Eagle Outfitters is getting out of the children’s business, announcing Friday that it is exploring a full or partial sale of 77kids, which includes 22 stores and the online business.

Robert Hanson, CEO of American Eagle Outfitters stated, “Although making this decision is disappointing, it is in the best interest of the company and our shareholders to prioritize and focus our efforts on businesses with the highest return potential. We thank the 77kids team for their hard work, passion and dedication.”

In fiscal 2011, the brand generated an after-tax loss of approximately $24 million on sales of $40 million. The company anticipates charges associated with the disposition of 77kids to be taken primarily in the second and third quarters, which will be disclosed as plans are finalized.

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REAL ESTATE

Retail real estate’s biggest show kicks off

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Las Vegas — On Monday morning, RECon 2012, the International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual retail real estate convention in Las Vegas, kicks off with an expected 31,000+ attendees from around the globe.

Running through Wednesday, May 23, RECon will encompass three halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center – or over 1 million sq. ft. – with more than 1,000 companies exhibiting and highlights such as The Cities of the World Pavilion and a keynote presentation by Leslie H. Wexner, founder of Limited Brands.

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