As it responded to the pandemic by providing support for associates, shoppers and communities, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. reported that comparable sales for the U.S. home improvement business rose 12.3 percent for the first quarter. The retailer operated 1,970 home improvement and hardware locations in the United States, as well as Canada, comprising just over 200 million square feet of selling space, according to an announcement.
“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,” Lowe’s President and CEO Marvin R. Ellison said in the earnings announcement. “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.”
Lowe’s said it “optimized store hours” by closing for three hours daily to bolster third-party cleaning procedures and stock shelves again as well as offer ample operating hours to keep concentrations of shopper traffic low. It also has “social distancing ambassadors” to handle shopper traffic flow and watch store traffic to limit shoppers based on the layout of the store.
The retailer also supported social distancing with new signage, with the inclusion of announcements, traffic arrows and floor markers. It also provided “substantial” changes to the design of the store to keep bolstering social distancing like clearing aisle space by taking away displays and shelving and creating one-way traffic flows in areas that are well-traveled.
Lowe’s Companies reported revenues of $19.7 billion and adjusted diluted earnings per share of $1.77 for the first quarter.
In February, Ellison said in a release that the company was making headway in its locations and website revamp. He said at the time, “Though we are only one year into a multi-year plan, we made significant progress transforming our company and believe we are well positioned to capitalize on solid demand in a healthy home improvement market.”