Lowe’s (Lowe’s Companies, Inc.) is the world’s second largest home improvement retailer (after The Home Depot, Inc.). It focuses on retail customers and commercial business customers. Lowe’s offers a complete line of products and services for home decorating, maintenance, repair, remodeling, and the maintenance of commercial buildings. Lowe’s is a North Carolina–based company, incorporated in 1952, and now employs around 160,000 people (as of January 1, 2008). Its headquarters is located at Mooresville, North Carolina. Lowe’s is quoted on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker symbol of LOW. It has approximately 32,000 shareholders (as of January 1, 2008).
Lowe’s and its subsidiaries (Lowe’s HIW, Inc., and Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc.) operate as home improvement retailers in the United States and Canada. It is doing business in 1,534 stores throughout the United States and Canada in two different types of stores: a 117,000-square-foot store for bigger markets and a 94,000-square-foot store for smaller markets. The company’s stores stock hundreds of thousands of items such as paint, lighting, flooring, doors, windows, and tools, and all are available through its special order sales system.
Lowe’s targets three different types of customers: retail do-it-yourself customers (i.e., homeowners and rental customers), do-it-for-me customers (these require installation assistance), and commercial business customers (i.e., repair and remodeling contractors, electricians, landscapers, painters, plumbers). Lowe’s owns and operates 11 regional distribution centers located in North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Ohio, Florida, Connecticut, and Wyoming. Each center serves 126 stores on average. Lowe’s sources products from around 7,000 merchandise vendors worldwide, with no single vendor accounting for more than 5 percent of the total.
Lowe’s was founded in 1946 as a typical, small-town hardware store. It was incorporated in 1952 as Lowe’s North Wilkesboro Hardware, Inc. The company adopted its present name in 1961. It began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in 1979. Lowe’s major business consisted of sales to professional homebuilders. However, the company changed its strategy to serve do-it-yourself consumers in 1980 when housing markets started to decline. Since then, Lowe’s has become regarded as one of the industry leaders.
Lowe’s executives include Robert A. Niblock (chairman, chief executive officer), Larry D. Stone (president, chief operating officer), Robert F. Hull, Jr. (chief financial officer), Gregory M. Bridgeford (executive vice president), Michael K. Brown (executive vice president), Charles W. Canter, Jr. (executive vice president), Joseph M. Mabry, Jr. (executive vice president), Matthew V. Hollifield (chief accounting officer), and Gaither Keener, Jr. (secretary, general counsel). Lowe’s board of directors includes Leonard L. Berry, Peter C. Browning, Paul Fulton, Dawn E. Hudson, Robert A. Ingram, Robert L. Johnson, Marshall O. Larsen, Richard K. Lochridge, Robert A. Niblock, Stephen F. Page, and O. Temple Sloan, Jr.
One of Lowe’s strengths is being independent of any single product. The company balances its product portfolio with various brands. Also, Lowe’s has a good customer service reputation, which makes it well known in the industry. Another reason for Lowe’s success is its focus on the needs of its diversified customers. By offering its special order sales system, Lowe’s provides its customers a choice from a wider collection of product options beyond what the store stocks.
The most important weakness of Lowe’s is probably its U.S.-dominated presence. Lowe’s is concentrated almost entirely in the United States. Although it has some stores in Canada and has announced plans to enter into Mexico, Lowe’s is dependent on its U.S. operations. Lowe’s is not utilizing the opportunities in other markets. For example, the Chinese market is massive, and contrary to the U.S. market, is expected to expand; Lowe’s rival The Home Depot acquired The Home Way, a Chinese home improvement retailer, in 2006. Lowe’s is still losing out on opportunities, and thus reducing its competitiveness against its rivals.
Another disadvantage of Lowe’s is its limited control on the quality of the products. The company has recalled some of its products for quality reasons. This most likely occurs because of Lowe’s many different worldwide vendors. This diversity results in fewer quality checks and some defective products. Such incidents affect operations and its brand image and consumer perception, in which Lowe’s is investing heavily.
- Lowe’s, lowes.com (cited March 2009);
- SEC-EDGAR, www.sec.gov (cited March 2009).
This example Lowe’s Essay is published for educational and informational purposes only. If you need a custom essay or research paper on this topic please use our writing services. EssayEmpire.com offers reliable custom essay writing services that can help you to receive high grades and impress your professors with the quality of each essay or research paper you hand in.