Lowe’s Companies Inc. grew overall e-commerce sales by more than a fifth year over year in its fiscal first quarter, and sales to business customers played an important part in that growth, the company says.
Lowe’s doesn’t break out its business-to-business or retail e-commerce sales, but it said on a conference call with stock analysts last week that its total e-commerce sales grew 23.5% in the quarter, and that sales to businesses—what it refers to as its base of Pro customers—continue to account for about 30% of online sales. Lowe’s is ranked No. 121 in the B2B E-Commerce 300 with $350 million in online sales to businesses, and No. 27 in the Internet Retailer 500, which ranks North American retailers by their web revenue.
By comparison, the company’s total sales grew a modest 7.8% in the quarter, while comp-store stores rose 7.3%. Comp-stores sales are sales at stores open at least one year. The fiscal first quarter ended April 29.
LowesForPros.com, the B2B e-commerce site Lowe’s launched last year, is “performing extremely well” and “exceeding our expectations,” chief financial officer Bob Hull said on the conference call, according to a transcript of the call from Seeking Alpha.
Rick Damron, chief operating officer, added that Lowe’s is committed to building on its Pro business by expanding its range of products and services to business customers online, through sales reps and in stores. He said Lowe’s improved its assortment of tools from brands including Hitachi, Bostitch and its private-label Kobalt line; expanded to more than 180 its number of Pro account reps; and designed LowesForPros.com to let Pros use it to organize orders for multiple projects.
Lowe’s also reported for the first quarter ended April 29:
Total sales increased 7.8% to $15.23 billion from $14.13 billion in the year-earlier quarter;
A gross profit margin of $5.35 billion, up 6.8% from $5.01 billion;
Net earnings of $884.0 million, up 31.4% from $673.0 million.
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