Lowe’s Cos. Inc. grew its online sales by 43% year over year in the just-concluded fiscal second quarter.
Chief operating officer Rick Damron was quick to credit improvements made to the hardware giant’s website for that online sales growth.
“We’ve continued to invest to enhance the customer experience with improved product search, integrated and upgraded product videos, enhanced presentations like 360-degree previews, extended descriptions and specifications, and simplified groupings to make it easy for customers to fully research our extensive appliance options and make their selection with confidence,” he told analysts on the call last week, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha.
Lowe’s, No. 25 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, upgraded its product and service offerings for business customers in Q2 as well as late last year, yielding comparable-store and online sales growth to those clients above the 4.5% company average, CEO Robert Niblock told investors.
Two recent acquisitions are helping grow sales to professional builders. In November, Lowe’s bought Laurel, Md.-based Central Wholesalers, a distributor of maintenance, repair and operations products serving the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, and in June Lowe’s completed its $512 million purchase of Maintenance Supply Headquarters, a Houston-based distributor of MRO products used to maintain facilities in the multifamily housing industry.
The two acquisitions expanded the Lowe’s MRO business to 16 distribution centers and more than $400 million in annual sales, Lowe’s says. Central Wholesalers sells online at Cwip.com and Maintenance Supply Headquarters at SupplyHQ.com.
“These acquisitions are significant steps forward in our strategy to deepen and broaden our relationship with new and existing pro customers, enabling us to better serve the multifamily housing industry through expanded products and services,” Niblock said on the earnings call.
Lowe’s expects to grow its professional customer business, Mike McDermott, chief customer officer, said on the earnings call. Sales to its “pro” customers represent about 30% of all sales and about half of the company’s home improvement sales. He didn’t break out online pro sales, but 30% of total Q2 sales is about $5.85 billion.
For the second quarter of fiscal 2017 ended Aug. 4, Lowe’s reported:
- Net sales of $19.50 billion, up 6.8% from $18.26 billion in Q2 of 2016.
- Gross profit of $6.670 billion, up 6.1% from $6.288 billion.
- Net income of $1.42 billion, compared with net income of $1.17 billion.
For the first six month of fiscal 2017, Lowe’s reported:
- Net sales of $36.35 billion, up 8.5% from $33.49 billion in the first half of 2016.
- Gross profit of $12.470 billion, up 7.3% from $11.626 billion.
- Net income of $2.02 billion, compared with net income of $2.05 billion.