Your Cheat Sheet to Lowe’s 3rd Quarter Conference Call

Lowe’s (LOW) reported third quarter earnings of $.31 per share versus $.23 in the same quarter a year ago. Revenues rose 1.9% to $11.6 Billion. Lowe’s beat Wall Street analyst expectations on earnings by a penny, but missed on revenues. Here’s what Lowe’s executives had to say about the 3rd quarter and the company’s future:

Robert Niblock, Chairman and CEO of Lowe’s (LOW), stated the following key statements:

– “Sales for the quarter trended below our guidance”

– “Our third quarter sales were impacted by the continued sluggishness of the economic recovery driven by ongoing uncertainty in employment and housing”

– “Consumers are not yet willing to consistently take on larger discretionary home improvement projects. They remain cautious and continue to rationalize the scope of their projects or in many cases delay projects until they have better clarity about their personal financial situations, the value of their homes, and the overall macroeconomic outlook”

– “On the expansion front, we opened 10 stores in the quarter, four of which were in Canada”

Nick Canter, Executive Vice President of Merchandising for Lowe’s (LOW), stated the following key statements:

– “Ten of our 20 product categories generated positive comps”

– “We will always be predominantly a house of national brands, but over the next few years we expect to further increase our penetration of private branded products from approximately 15% to 18%”

Bob Hall, Executive Vice President and CFO of Lowe’s (LOW), stated the following key statements:

– “Our third quarter inventory balance increased $119 million or 1.4% versus Q3 last year. The increase was due to 36 new stores opened over the past four quarters”

– “Our debt to equity ratio was 29.5% compared with 26.1% in Q3 last year”

– “During the quarter, we repurchased 29 million shares at an average price of $20.72 for a total share repurchase amount of $600 million. We have $3.4 billion remaining on our share repurchase authorization”

– “We expect fourth quarter sales to grow by 2 to 4% over last year, which incorporates the opening of 17 new stores – four in November, five in December, and 8 stores in January. Comp stores sales are thus estimated to be flat to positive 2% versus last year”

– “For 2010 we expect to open approximately 42 stores resulting in an increase in square footage of roughly 2%. We’re estimating a comp sales increase of 1 to 2% and a total sales increase of 3 to 4%”

– “We expect diluted earnings per share of $1.37 to $1.40 for the year”

– “For the year, we expect cash flow from operations to be approximately $4.2 billion”

Disclosure: No positions in Lowe’s (LOW)