||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (December 2011)|
|Traded as||NYSE: LOW
S&P 500 Component
|Founded||North Wilkesboro, North Carolina (1946)|
|Headquarters||Mooresville, North Carolina, U.S.|
|Number of locations||1,750 (November 2012)|
|Area served||United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia|
|Key people||Robert Niblock
(Chairman and CEO)
|Revenue||$50.52 billion (2012)|
|Operating income||$3.648 billion (2012)|
|Net income||$1.959 billion (2012)|
|Total assets||$32.666 billion (2012)|
|Total equity||$13.857 billion (2012)|
Lowe's is an American chain of retail home improvement and appliance stores that has retail stores in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Founded in 1946 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, the chain has 1,754 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Expansion into Canada began in 2007, with the opening of a store in Hamilton, Ontario, in early 2008. Lowe's started the construction of two stores in the Mexican city of Monterrey officially entering the Mexican market. In 2011 Lowe's released plans to build over 150 stores in Australia (as Masters Home Improvement) over the next five years, hoping to compete with the A$46 billion industry. Lowe's Companies, Inc. is 43rd on the Fortune 500 list. As of 2010, the chain is based in Mooresville, North Carolina. Lowe's is the second-largest hardware chain in the United States, behind The Home Depot and ahead of Menards. Globally, Lowe's is also the second-largest hardware chain, again, behind The Home Depot and ahead of the European stores B&Q and OBI.
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Lowe's North Wilkesboro Hardware was first opened by Anglo-American Lucius S. Lowe in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in 1921. The business was inherited by his daughter, Ruth, when Lucius died in 1940. She sold the company to her brother, Jim, that same year. Jim Lowe and Ruth's husband, Carl Buchan, both served in World War II, and during the war, the store was run by Ruth and her mother. Jim took on Carl (honorably discharged after receiving an injury) as a partner in 1943.
Under Buchan's management, the store focused on hardware and building materials. Before then, the product mix had also included notions, dry goods, horse tack, snuff, produce, and groceries. The company bought a second store in Sparta, North Carolina, in 1949.
Carl Buchan and Jim Lowe differed on expanding the company to new areas, and they split in 1952, with Buchan taking control of the hardware and building supply business, and Lowe taking other joint ventures the two controlled, including a car dealership. Buchan became the sole owner of Lowe's. Lowe started the Lowes Foods grocery store chain in 1954.
In 1960 Carl Buchan died of a heart attack at age 44. His five-man executive team, which included Robert Strickland and Leonard Herring, took the company public in 1961. By 1962 Lowe's operated 21 stores and reported annual revenues of $32 million. Lowe's starting trading on the New York Stock Exchange in 1979.
Lowe's suffered in the 1980s, due to market conditions and increasing competition from the new big-box chain, The Home Depot. For a while, Lowe's resisted adopting the mega-store format, partly because Lowe's management believed that the smaller towns where Lowe's mostly operated would not support huge stores. However, Lowe's eventually had to adopt the big-box format in order to survive. Today most Lowe's stores are of the big-box variety, though some classic format stores remain in smaller markets.
Lowe's has since grown nationally, aided by the purchase of Spokane-based Eagle Hardware & Garden in 1999. It is now the second-largest home improvement chain in North America and has begun expanding outside the United States, starting with the Southern Ontario area. The first store outside of United States was in Hamilton, Ontario, at Barton Street and Woodward Avenue.
- United States
The Lowe's corporate facilities are located in Mooresville and Wilkesboro, North Carolina. The Mooresville facility, the newest Lowe's corporate campus, is 25 miles (40 km) north of Charlotte and contains a five story, 400,000-square-foot (37,000 m2) building. The building has a central atrium and two office wings; the atrium houses a food court, a five story spiral staircase, and meeting and reception rooms. A 7-acre (2.8 ha) lake flows underneath the headquarters building.
Lowe's satellite corporate office is based in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. The building was formerly the Wilkes Mall until 1997 when Lowe's bought the entire property. Since then, the entire 440,000 square-foot campus has been remodeled numerous times, and features a fully gated campus, security gates and guards, cameras, a food court, meeting rooms and others.
Lowe's is organized geographically into divisions in the U.S. (North, South, and West), Regions, Markets and then the individual store. Currently, Lowe's in Mexico & Canada each stand alone within their own regions respectively. It is decentralized. A Lowe's store can have anywhere from 80 to over 400 employees depending on the size and sales volume.
Lowe's Build and Grow clinics
Lowe's Build and Grow clinics are free workshops for children put on by Lowe's on the second and fourth Saturday of each month.
These workshops are free of charge and allow children and their parents an opportunity to experience the joy of building things hands on. Children have a new project at each clinic. They are given an apron and a patch for each project completed. Projects include building boxes, napkin holders, toys, or holiday-themed items.
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Lowe's won eight consecutive ENERGY STAR awards from 2003 to 2010, including four ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year awards for educating consumers about the benefits of energy efficiency. On March 1, 2010, Lowe's also became the first winner of the ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award in Retail. Through this award, Lowe’s was recognized for its contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by promoting energy-efficient products and educating consumers and employees on the value of the Energy Star program. In 2000, Lowe’s released a policy promising that all wood products sold would not be sourced from rainforests. However according to a new report released by the Environmental Investigation Agency, wood used in flooring that Lowe’s has been selling is coming from the forests of Indonesia’s remote Papua Province, where 80 percent of logging is estimated to be illegal.
Advertising and sponsorships
In 2006, Lowe's partnered with designer Marianne Cusato to develop and offer affordable house plans for the hurricane-affected Gulf region. Lowe's is the exclusive retailer for both the plans and building materials for the Lowe's Katrina Cottage. They offer easy construction and affordability, as well as the possibility of expansion. Moreover, they meet all international building codes and exceed hurricane codes.
Lowe's has a wide variety of television and radio commercials. A significant number of different racing-inspired commercials can be seen and are often played outside of television race coverage. Gene Hackman's voice can be heard on many commercial advertisements for Lowe's. However, Ben Yannette is currently doing the Lowe's advertising campaign voice-overs.
In 2006, Lowe's began sponsoring the radio broadcast booth of the New York Yankees. Frequently during every game Yankees announcer John Sterling states "We are coming to you live from the Lowe's Broadcast Booth. Lowe's: Let's build something together.". The tag line has been changed in September 2011 to 'Never Stop Improving'.
Lowe's advertising has been a part of the Christmas controversy in the United States. In 2005 Lowe's signage for their Christmas trees read "holiday trees" in English, but read árboles de Navidad (Christmas trees) in Spanish rather than árboles de feriados. In 2007, Lowe's started using the term "family tree", sparking protest from the American Family Association, but they have since claimed that this term was only a printing mistake.
Lowe's purchased naming rights of Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, in 1998, and the speedway changed names to Lowe's Motor Speedway. After the ten year naming rights expired, Lowe's extended naming rights by one year. After the one year extension expired, Lowe's discontinued naming rights, and as of the 2010 racing season the racetrack returned to its original name. Lowe's is an associate sponsor of several Speedway Motorsports, Inc. properties such as Atlanta Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway.
The corporation is the primary sponsor for six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson in the #48 Chevrolet Impala SS and it was a part-time sponsor of the former #5 Nationwide Series team; both teams are owned by Hendrick Motorsports. Prior to the current sponsorship deal with Hendrick Motorsports, Lowe's was the sponsor of the #31 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing driven by Mike Skinner and Robby Gordon from 1997 to 2001. Prior to the RCR deal, Lowe's was the primary sponsor of the #11 Ford driven by Brett Bodine for Junior Johnson & Associates, and later, Brett's own team, Brett Bodine Racing (after Bodine bought the #11 team from Johnson).
Lowe's also sponsors Fernandez Racing in the American Le Mans Series and previously sponsored the team in the Rolex Sports Car Series; in that series, Lowe's sponsors the #99 Gainsco Stallings Racing Pontiac in events where Johnson is driving.
All-American Muslim advertising
Lowe's withdrew its advertising from the TLC reality television show All-American Muslim in December 2011. One organization that criticized the show was the Florida Family Association, a one-man fundamentalist organization "on the Christian right" that says it's 'defending American values'", The organization claimed the show was "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values." A spokesperson for Lowe's said that "we understand the program raised concerns, complaints, or issues from multiple sides of the viewer spectrum, which we found after doing research of news articles and blogs covering the show".
Lowe's faced a backlash from several quarters, including Muslim-American and Arab-American organizations. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee called upon members to contact Lowe's to urge it to reverse its position. The Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations met to consider possible actions, including boycotts and protests. Several celebrities also called for a boycott. California State Senator Ted Lieu called Lowe's decision "naked religious bigotry" and said he would consider legislative action if Lowe's did not apologize to Muslim-Americans and reinstate the ads. Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League expressed similar views. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, criticized Lowe's decision to "uphold the beliefs of a fringe hate group and not the creed of the First Amendment". Representative John Conyers of Michigan called on Lowe's to apologize. Michigan state representative Rashida Tlaib contacted the company's corporate headquarters, reporting that Lowe's declined to change its decision.
Based in Toronto, Ontario, Lowe's opened its first three stores in Canada on December 10, 2007, in Hamilton, Brampton and Brantford. On February 1, 2008, they opened three more stores in Toronto, East Gwillimbury, and a second store in Brampton as well as a new location in Maple (Vaughan). Currently, additional stores are under construction, with 19 now open in the province of Ontario. Lowe's also recently announced expansion into Western Canada, starting with three new stores in Calgary, Alberta. One of the three locations opened in late September 2010. The other two opened in early 2011. There are now stores in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. To date (2013) Lowe's has 33 locations in Canada.
Each store represents an average investment of $20.5 million ($20.4 million USD).
On July 8, 2012, Lowe's made an unsolicited bid to RONA, a Canadian-based retailer hardware in hopes to acquire a greater Canadian market share. However, this proposal was rejected by the board of directors, stating that this transaction was not in the interest of Canadians. After this offer went public, many Canadian parties and group tried to acquire stocks to fend off Lowe's proposal. In September Lowe's decided to end its takeover attempt.
Trading as Masters Home Improvement, the first store opened in Braybrook, Victoria to tradesmen on 31 August 2011, and the general public on 1 September 2011. Masters is a joint venture of the Lowe's Companies Inc. and Woolworths Limited to compete against Wesfarmers' owned Bunnings Warehouse which operate in the large bigbox format similar to Lowe's and Home Depot.
The stores will be 1/3 owned by Lowe's Companies Inc.(USA) and 2/3 owned by Woolworths Limited (Australian Owned Public Company Listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).
Lowe's was involved in a small cluster of class action lawsuits, that all revolve around Lowe's employee payment system. The cases focused on a pay practice known as "variable rate overtime". Variable rate overtime has the effect of paying a decreasing overtime rate the more hours a person works in a week. The suits alleged that salaried managers who worked 40 to 50 hours per week, were improperly compensated for that time. The variable rate overtime ended in the first quarter of 2006.
The first case was filed in October 2002 by employees of the Lowe's store in Shawnee, Kansas. In September 2005, the cases were certified as class action. Lowe's has four similar cases in New York, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. The lawsuits for New York, Indiana, and Kansas resulted in an out-of-court settlement on September 22, 2006.
Lowe's is still facing multiple lawsuits from its Loss Prevention Managers citing that they were classified as exempt employees and therefore denied overtime pay. The managers assert that they were forced to work a minimum of 48 hours per week which saved Lowe's and its investors, millions of dollars every year. Lawsuits have been settled for $2.95 million in California and $6.2 million in Texas.
- Lowe's History
- "2010 Form 10-K, Lowe's Companies, Inc.". United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
- "Lowe's Companies Inc 2012 Annual Report, Form 10-K, Filing Date Feb 16, 2012". secdatabase.com. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
- Fortune 500 List
- "Lowe's targets Canada, No. 2 U.S. home retailer plans 100 store openings to tap into expanding, $39 billion market". Toronto Star. Sep 20, 2007.
- Pernie, Gwenyth. "Lowe's Companies Inc". Building News Network.
- "Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse". The History of Corporate.
- "Carolinas FYI: About Lowe's and Lowes," The Charlotte Observer, March 16, 2003.
- "Company News; Lowe’s to Acquire Eagle Hardware and Garden". New York Times. 1998.
- "Fact Sheet for Investors." Lowe's. Retrieved on February 1, 2011. "Lowe's Companies, Inc. 1000 Lowe's Blvd. Mooresville, NC 28117"[dead link]
- "LOWE'S REVEALS WESTERN CANADA EXPANSION PLANS." Lowe's. December 7, 2009. Retrieved on February 1, 2011.
- "Lowe's Becomes First Retailer to Win Energy Star Award for Sustained Excellence in Retail". newsblaze.com. 2010-03-01. Retrieved 2010-03-14.
- "Lowe's Launches Forest Protection Initiative". socialfunds.com. 2000-08-11. Retrieved 2008-05-06.
- Butler, Rhett A. (2006-03-23). "Home Depot, Lowe's selling illegal wood from Papua New Guinea-Report". mongabay.com. Retrieved 2008-05-06.
- Lowe's Katrina Cottages F&Q
- Elliott, Stuart (28 February 2010). "Lowe’s Puts Its Focus on Knowing the Customer’s Wants". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
- "Lowe's listens: 'Christmas trees' Chain dumps 'holiday' reference after WND report, complaints". WND. November 29, 2005.
- "Lowe's says 'family trees' a mistake Company confirms it will be selling 'Christmas' decorations". WND. November 14, 2007.
- "Urban Legends Reference Pages: Lowe's Family Trees". Snopes.com. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
- "Lowe's Christmas Tree Controversy". WXII-TV. November 14, 2007.
- Sacirbey, Omar (December 9, 2011). "Companies pull ads from Muslim reality TV show". The Washington Post.
- The 2010 federal tax forms for the Florida Family Association list Mr. Caton as its only paid employee, earning $55,200. Source:Freedman, Samuel G. (December 16, 2011). "Waging a One-Man War on American Muslims". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
- Freedman, Samuel G. (December 16, 2011). "Waging a One-Man War on American Muslims". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
- Stenovec, Timothy (July 10, 2012). "Florida Family Association Launches Campaign Against Marvel Comics Over Same-Sex Marriage In 'Astonishing X-Men'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
- "Lawmakers Slam Lowe's For Pulling Ads from Muslim-American Reality Show", Fox News, 11 December 2011, retrieved 16 Dec 2011. 
- Muslims consider Lowe's boycott
- Lowe's faces backlash over pulling ads from 'All-American Muslim'
- "ADL, Reform group rip Lowe’s for pulling ads from show on Muslims." Jewish Journal. 15 December 2011. 16 December 2011.
- Lowe's Canada Store Locator
- Lowe's says Canadian expansion 'on track'
- "Lowe's withdraws buyout bid for Canada's Rona". News & Record. Associated Press. 2012-09-17. Retrieved 2012-09-17.
- Lowe's to settle class-action suit, David Twiddy, AP Business Writer, September 22, 2006
- Class-action lawsuit faults Lowe's on OT, By James Haggerty, TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER, 02/28/2005
- denial of Lowe's motion to dismiss
- Liability For Back Pay Looms at Lowe's Stores, LawsuitSearch.com, retrieved March 27, 2008
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