Big-box home improvement chain Lowe’s has announced net sales of $19.7 billion in the first quarter of 2020, an 11.3 percent increase over the same period in 2019.
Sales grew more than 23 percent over results from the fourth quarter of 2019. Comparable U.S. store sales grew more than 12 percent.
Total earnings for the company stood at $1.3 billion, nearly 30 percent higher than in the first quarter of 2019.
“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 healthcare workers and first responders,” says Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s president and CEO.
Lowe’s also points to other successes this quarter, including roughly 80 percent sales growth online.
In a call with investors, Ellison cautions that sales growth may be limited in coming months.
“We don’t anticipate we’re going to see negative comps, but we do anticipate that we’re going to see sales start to moderate at some point in the latter part of this quarter and the back half of this year,” he says.
He also commented on the specific ways the response to COVID-19 is influencing home improvement sales, according to a report from CNBC.
“This is not a housing recession,” he says. “This is obviously different. We’re seeing still sustained strength from our homeowners because they’re sheltering in place and they’re finding those projects around the house.”
In its financial report, Lowe’s also outlines the ways it helped associates amid COVID-19, including via two special payments of $300 for full-time hourly employees and $150 for part-time workers, among other initiatives.
Lowe’s and its related businesses operate or service more than 2,200 home improvement and hardware stores worldwide, employing roughly 300,000 people. In February, Mike Mitchell, head of Lowe’s skilled trades initiatives, spoke to Hardware Retailing about how the company is promoting careers in the field.