At annual meeting, Lowe’s CEO talks of challenging market
CHARLOTTE ó Friday at its annual meeting, Lowe’s Companies Chairman and CEO Robert A. Niblock told shareholders that in a challenging economic environment, Lowe’s is maintaining its high standards for stores, diligently managing expenses and continuing its keen focus on customer service.
“In a tough environment, great companies look for opportunities to strengthen their business, and that is exactly what Lowe’s is doing,” explained Niblock. “We’re committed to taking care of our customers and pursuing profitable, long-term market share gains while prudently managing the business to provide the best long-term return for shareholders.
“As a result of these efforts, in 2007 Lowe’s continued to gain market share, increased our total sales and achieved our expansion plan by opening 153 new stores, including our first stores in Canada. Further illustrating our unwavering focus on customers, we continued to gain market share through the first quarter of 2008.”
Niblock said the long-term demographic trends for the home improvement industry remain favorable due to population growth and the aging of more than 130 million existing homes in the U.S.
During the meeting, shareholders re-elected board members Robert A. Ingram, Robert L. Johnson and Richard K. Lochridge. Continuing directors include David W. Bernauer, Leonard L. Berry, Peter C. Browning, Dawn E. Hudson, Marshall O. Larsen, Stephen F. Page, O. Temple Sloan, Jr. and Niblock.
Shareholders ratified Deloitte & Touche as the company’s independent public accountants for the 2008 fiscal year and approved an amendment to Lowe’s Articles of Incorporation to eliminate the classified structure of the board of directors, including elimination of the supermajority vote requirement to remove directors.
They approved a non-binding shareholder proposal to adopt a simple majority vote requirement for items submitted for shareholder approval. They rejected a non-binding shareholder proposal to require bonuses and long-term compensation be awarded based on company performance compared to that of peer companies.
The board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of 8.5 cents per share, an increase of 6.3 percent, payable on Aug. 1, to shareholders of record as of July 18. Lowe’s has paid a cash dividend each quarter since going public in 1961.
With fiscal year 2007 sales of $48.3 billion, Mooresville-based Lowe’s Companies Inc. is a Fortune 50 company that serves approximately 14 million customers a week at more than 1,550 home improvement stores in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1946, Lowe’s is the second-largest home improvement retailer in the world. For more information, visit www.Lowes.com.