Lowe's Company History Timeline

(25,217 Jobs)
1946

1946 Lowe’s of Today is Born Anticipating the dramatic increase in construction after World War II, Lowe’s joint-owner Carl Buchan re-focuses the company solely on home improvement products.

In 1946 Buchan took a 50 percent interest in the store.

1946 Carl Buchan buys 50 percent interest in the store.

In 1946 Buchan took a 50% interest in the store.

Lowe returned from military service in 1946 to assist Buchan.

North Wilkesboro Hardware changed its name to Lowe’s Hardware, in 1946.

Founded in 1946 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, it’s the second largest hardware chain both in the United States and around the world.

In 1946 North Wilkesboro Hardware changed its name to Lowe's Hardware.

1949

1949 Growth in North Carolina Lowe’s opens its second store, in Sparta, N.C.

The company bought a second location in Sparta, North Carolina in 1949.

1952

1952 Leadership and Growth With hopes of becoming a national chain, Carl Buchan becomes the sole owner of Lowe’s, ending his joint ownership with Jim Lowe.

In 1952 Buchan traded his interests in these two businesses for Lowe's interest in their two stores.

Also in 1952 the company was incorporated as Lowe's North Wilkesboro Hardware, Inc.

1952 Buchan gains full control of the concern, which he incorporates as Lowe's North Wilkesboro Hardware, Inc.

In 1952 Buchan traded his interests in these two businesses for Lowe’s interest in their two stores.

Also in 1952 the company was incorporated as Lowe’s North Wilkesboro Hardware, Inc.

Public Company Incorporated: 1952 as Lowe’s North Wilkesboro Hardware, Inc.Employees: 15,556Sales: $2.83 billionStock Exchanges: New York Pacific London

In 1952 Buchan traded the automobile dealership and the cattle ranch for Lowe's half-interest in the two stores.

Post-war construction boom generates sales of $27 million, up from slightly more than $4 million in 1952

In 1952, Carl Buchan became the sole owner of Lowe’s.

Buchan decided to trade his shares in these two newly purchased ventures to Lowe’s shares in their two hardware ventures in 1952.

In 1952, Buchan became the sole owner of Lowe's.

1954

In 1954, Jim Lowe started the Lowes Foods grocery store chain.

1955

By 1955 Buchan had six stores.

In 1955, with six stores now in operation, Buchan incorporated the business as Lowe's North Wilkesboro Hardware, Inc.

Customers also got low prices due to this incentive as Buchan succeeded to open three more stores by 1955.

By 1955, Buchan quickly expanded the company by opening stores in the North Carolina cities of Asheville, Charlotte, and Durham.

1958

In 1958, Lowe’s reaches 344 associates.

1958 Growing Stronger In 1958, Lowe’s reaches 344 associates.

1960

The big push to become a major force in the home-building market came in 1960 when Buchan died and an office of the president was created.

Buchan died in 1960, and the following year, with sales reaching $30.7 million, the company went public and was renamed Lowe's Companies, Inc.

He managed the chains growth to 15 stores by 1960.

Carl Buchan passed away back in 1960.

1961

Lowe’s becomes a publicly-traded company on October 10, 1961.

1961 Lowe’s Goes Public Lowe’s becomes a publicly-traded company on October 10, 1961.

The company went public in 1961 and was renamed Lowe's Companies, Inc.

1961 Following Buchan's death the previous year, the new managers take the firm public and rename it Lowe's Companies, Inc.

The company went public in 1961 and was renamed Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

Ownership: Lowe's Companies, Inc. went public in 1961.

After its successful IPO in 1961, the company’s name changed to Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

In 1961, Buchan died of a heart attack at age 44.

1962

By 1962, Lowe's operated 21 stores and reported annual revenues of $32 million.

1964

1964 One Million Lowe’s serves one million customers annually for the first time.

1969

By 1969, the company operated 50 stores and revenues neared $1 billion.

1970

By 1970, Lowe’s generated a sales revenue of over $100 million and operated over 50 stores.

1975

Korn, Don, “Lowe’s Gets Ready to Raise the Roof,” Sales Management, July 7, 1975.

Korn, Don, "Lowe's Gets Ready to Raise the Roof," Sales Management, July 7, 1975.

1978

Rising steadily through the ranks, Strickland had reached the position of chairman of the board in 1978 and, with newly appointed Lowe's President Leonard Herring, spearheaded the decision to attract consumers in a big way.

Rising steadily through the ranks, Strickland had reached the position of chairman of the board in 1978 and, with newly appointed Lowe’s President Leonard Herring, spearheaded the decision to attract consumers in a big way.

Initially, Lowe’s biggest buyers were professional contractors but when Robert Strickland became CEO in 1978, marketing was directed to individual consumers and households, in a “do it yourself” model.

1979

“Lowe’s Zeroes in on Customers,” Chain Store Age Executive, August 1979.

"Lowe's Zeroes in on Customers," Chain Store Age Executive, August 1979.

1979 Welcome to NYSE On December 19, Lowe’s is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Just two years later, the company posted a net income of $170 million; and by 1979, 200 Lowe's stores were producing in excess of $900 million in profits.

During the next two decades, Lowe’s underwent rapid expansion, and by 1979, Lowe’s was a member of the New York Stock Exchange.

The company’s management focused on how to remain profitable during the fluctuations and managed to generate over $900 million in sales revenue by 1979.

Lowe's began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in 1979.

1980

In 1980 housing starts decreased, and Lowe's net income fell 24 percent.

In 1980 housing starts decreased, and Lowe’s net income fell 24 percent.

In 1980 housing starts decreased, and Lowe’s net income fell 24%. While studying the track records of do-it-yourself stores that sold solely to consumers, Lowe’s found that these stores were recording strong sales even during the home-building slumps.

Despite these efforts, the company’s net income was down by 24 percent in 1980.

1981

Lowe’s is listed on the London Stock Exchange as of January 26, 1981.

1981 London Stock Exchange Lowe’s is listed on the London Stock Exchange as of January 26, 1981.

1982

1982 One Billion Lowe’s has its first billion-dollar sales year, earning a record profit of $25 million.

1982 A shift to targeting do-it-yourselfers helps push revenues past the $1 billion mark.

By 1982, sales topped $1 billion and the following year became the first that Lowe's consumer sales outdid its commercial sales.

By 1982, revenue exceeded $1billion.

In 1982, Lowe’s achieved its first billion dollar sales year and earned a profit of $25 million.

Lowe’s sales revenue hit $1 billion by 1982 and rose to $1.43 billion a year later.

1984

1984 Best Company to Work For Lowe’s is named a “Top 100 Best Companies to Work for in America” by Fortune Magazine.

1988

The company had opened some larger units in 1988--including a 60,000-square-foot store in Knoxville, Tennessee, a 40,320-square-foot unit in Boone, North Carolina, and a 60,480-square-foot store in North Chattanooga, Tennessee--but none approached the size of a Home Depot.

The company had opened some larger units in 1988, including a 60,000-square-foot store in Knoxville, Tennessee, a 40,320-square-foot unit in Boone, North Carolina, and a 60,480-square-foot store in North Chattanooga, Tennessee, but none approached the size of a Home Depot.

The company had opened some larger units in 1988—including a 60,000-square-foot store in Knoxville, Tennessee, a 40,320-square-foot unit in Boone, North Carolina, and a 60,480-square-foot store in North Chattanooga, Tennessee—but none approached the size of a Home Depot.

In 1988 the company opened a 60,000-square-foot store in Knoxville, Tennessee, a 40,320-square-foot unit in Boone, North Carolina, and a 60,480-square-foot store in North Chattanooga, Tennessee.

1989

“Lowe’s Vision—The Wal-Mart of Home Centers,” Chain Store Age Executive, May 1989.

"Lowe's Vision—The Wal-Mart of Home Centers," Chain Store Age Executive, May 1989.

Lowe's, meanwhile, had surpassed the 300-store mark in fiscal 1989 but those stores averaged barely more than 20,000 square feet.

1989 Transition to large, warehouse-style stores begins.

Lowe’s, meanwhile, had surpassed the 300-store mark in fiscal 1989 but those stores averaged barely more than 20,000 square feet.

In 1989 Lowe’s owned 89% of the buildings that housed their stores.

Modeling Home Depot's much larger floor plan, in 1989 Lowe's began greatly expanding its own square footage from 20,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet, which was still significantly smaller than Home Depot's standard 100,000-plus square feet stores.

The company managed to have 300 stores that were over 20,000 square feet under its wing by 1989.

1991

Sales had nearly tripled since the restructuring was announced in 1991, increasing from $3.1 billion to $8.6 billion.

By the end of 1991, Lowe’s expected to add one million square feet of space, bringing the total to eight million.

Lowe’s officially adopted the warehouse-style stores in 1991.

The sales revenue in the stores collectively tripled ever since Lowe’s began its restructuring process back in 1991.

1994

And it also continued to sell major appliances and home electronics (including home office equipment, which was added to the mix in 1994), two categories usually absent from Home Depot stores.

Both income and sales have grown steadily since 1994.

Lowe’s began competing with rival Home Depot, and in 1994 its stores became large warehouses of more than 85,000 square feet that featured tools, building supplies and home decorations.

Overall, Lowe's aimed to generate more of its sales from consumers, while at the same time continuing to serve contractors. It also continued to sell major appliances and home electronics (including home office equipment, which was added to the mix in 1994), two categories usually absent from Home Depot stores.

1995

Meanwhile, in August 1995 Herring retired and was succeeded as president and CEO by Robert L. Tillman, who had served as chief operating officer.

Leonard Herring’s term as president and CEO of Lowe’s ended in August 1995.

In 1995, Lowes.com is launched, marking the company’s entrance into the digital market.

1995 Entering the Digital Age In 1995, Lowes.com is launched, marking the company’s entrance into the digital market.

1996

Meanwhile, in August 1996 Herring retired and was succeeded as president and CEO by Robert L. Tillman, who had served as chief operating officer.

Net earnings reached a record $292.2 million in 1996.

By 1996 there were more than 400 Lowe's stores, averaging more than 75,000 square feet per unit.

By 1996 there were more than 400 Lowe’s stores, averaging more than 75,000 square feet per unit.

Lowe’s made its debut to the New York market in 1996 by opening one store there.

Net earnings also hit the $296.2 million mark in 1996.

1997

During 1997 Lowe's opened 42 more stores.

1997 Company opens first stores in an urban market.

HD Supply profile and corporate video HD Supply was formed in 1997 as the professional services division of Home Depot.

1998

Tillman was named chairman as well in January 1998.

Postman, Lore, "Home Repair Giant Lowe's Shapes Strategy Around Aging Handyman," Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, July 26, 1998.

These centers supported further geographic expansion, including a $1.5 billion plan launched in 1998 to build more than 100 new stores in the western United States.

1999

Lowe's westward expansion was accelerated through the April 1999 acquisition of Eagle Hardware & Garden, Inc. in a stock swap valued at about $1.34 billion.

In 1999 the Lowe’s Employee Relief Fund is established to help associates through times of significant financial hardship.

1999 Supporting Associates In 1999 the Lowe’s Employee Relief Fund is established to help associates through times of significant financial hardship.

By the end of 1999 the Lowe's store count had reached 550, and its revenues of $15.45 billion made it the 15th largest retailer in the country.

In fiscal 1999, the company generated $15.9 billion in sales, resulting in a net profit of $673,000.

In 1999, Lowe's purchased Washington-based Eagle Hardware for $1 billion and converted its stores over to the Lowe's name.

Lowe's has since grown nationally, as it was aided by the purchase of the Renton, Washington–based Eagle Hardware & Garden company in 1999.

2000

During 2000, 75 percent of Lowe's sales revenues were generated by do-it-yourself and buy-it-yourself consumers, and 25 percent came from commercial business.

In 2000, the company placed an immediate ban on lumber purchases from the endangered Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia.

According to Forbes, it is considered one of the world’s most valuable brands, one of the top regarded companies, and one of the top 2000 largest public companies in the world.

By 2000, Lowe’s succeeded in adding 40 more stores to its existing 400 stores.

2001

2001 Fortune 100 Lowe’s is named a “Top 100 Best Companies to Work for in America.” by Fortune Magazine.

The first New York City store opened in the spring of 2001.

The nearly 18 percent increase in sales during fiscal 2001 was driven by a 19 percent increase in square footage from new and relocated stores and a 2.4 percent increase in same-store sales.

Fiscal year 2001 sees net earnings increase 21 percent to $1.05 billion on total revenues of $22.1 billion

2002

"analysts see lowe's growth." pacific business news, 11 january 2002.

benjamin, jeff. "lowe's builds a solid foundation for profit growth." investment news, 18 february 2002.

"lowe's reports record earnings for fourth quarter and fiscal year." pr newswire, 25 february 2002.

"lowe's ceo tillman tells vendors what it will take to do business with the big box chain in the future." do-it-yourself retailing, march 2002.

"lowe's concentrates on metro markets." home textiles today, 4 march 2002.

"lowe's fourth-quarter earnings surged 55.1 percent to $218.4 million." chain store age executive fax, 1 march 2002.

Late in 2002 Lowe's announced further plans to open more than 60 stores in the New York metropolitan area and northern New Jersey.

During the first quarter of 2002, most analysts marked Lowe's as a Strong Buy with a target stock price of $50.

lowe's companies, inc. home page, 2002. available at http://www.lowes.com.

2003

In 2003 the company introduced a smaller prototype format measuring 94,000 square feet that was designed for smaller, mainly rural markets.

2004

Dyer, Leigh, "Retiring CEO to Leave with Sun Shining on Lowe's," Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, November 16, 2004.

2005

During the fiscal year ending in January 2005, Lowe's store count passed the 1,000 mark.

"Lowe's to Expand into Canada," Charlotte (N.C.) Business Journal, June 6, 2005.

As Lowe's posted another record year in fiscal 2005, profits of $2.77 billion on revenues of $43.24 billion, one possible cloud on the horizon was a cooling of what had been a red-hot housing market, which had the potential to precipitate a concomitant downturn in the home improvement industry.

Rather than slowing, growth accelerated under the new leader, as no fewer than 150 new Lowe's opened during fiscal 2005, including the first stores in New Hampshire, the 49th state to join the company ranks.

As Lowe's posted another record year in fiscal 2005, profits of $2.77 billion on revenues of $43.24 billion, one possible cloud on the horizon was a cooling of what had been a red-hot housing market, which had the potential to recipitate a concomitant downturn in the home improvement industry.

2006

Designer Marianne Cuasto collaborated with Lowe’s back in 2006 to come up with affordable housing plans for victims affected by the hurricane that hit the Gulf region.

2007

Lowe’s expands outside of the United States in 2007, opening its first stores in Canada in December.

2007 International Company Lowe’s expands outside of the United States in 2007, opening its first stores in Canada in December.

On December 10, 2007, Lowe’s penetrated the Canadian home improvement market by opening its first three stores in Brantford, Brampton and Hamilton, Canada.

2008

The company also opened three more stores in East Gwillimbury, Brampton (the second one) and Toronto on February 1, 2008.

2010

Lowe’s also bagged the Energy Star Sustained Excellence in Retail Award back in 2010.

According to its website, Lowe's has operated/serviced more than 2,355 locations in the United States, Canada, and Mexico alone, although the Mexican stores were closed in the late 2010s.

2012

14 May 2012. <http://media.lowes.com/history/>.

14 May 2012. <http://www.thehistoryofcorporate.com/companies-by-industry/traderetail/lowe’s-home-improvement-warehouse/>.

2015

In 2015, Lowe’s continues its global approach to hardware and establishes an office in Bangalore, India.

2015 Expanding to India In 2015, Lowe’s continues its global approach to hardware and establishes an office in Bangalore, India.

2016

Lowe’s purchases RONA in 2016, expanding its reach in Canada.

2016 Northern Growth Lowe’s purchases RONA in 2016, expanding its reach in Canada.

2018

2018 Marvin Ellison Joins Lowe's Robert Niblock retires and Marvin Ellison becomes president and CEO.

As of 2018, Lowe’s maintains its presence in the North American home improvement market through its 400 stores across 24 states.

As of 2018, Lowe’s operates 62 stores in Canada.

2021

"Lowe’s Companies, Inc. ." International Directory of Company Histories. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 15, 2021). https://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/lowes-companies-inc-1

"Lowe’s Companies, Inc. ." International Directory of Company Histories. . Retrieved April 15, 2021 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/lowes-companies-inc-1

"Lowe’s Companies, Inc. ." International Directory of Company Histories. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 15, 2021). https://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/lowes-companies-inc-0

"Lowe’s Companies, Inc. ." International Directory of Company Histories. . Retrieved April 15, 2021 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/lowes-companies-inc-0

Sworsky, Mary; Salamie, David "Lowe's Companies, Inc. ." International Directory of Company Histories. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 15, 2021). https://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/lowes-companies-inc

Sworsky, Mary; Salamie, David "Lowe's Companies, Inc. ." International Directory of Company Histories. . Retrieved April 15, 2021 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/lowes-companies-inc

"Lowe's Companies, Inc. ." Company Profiles for Students. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 15, 2021). https://www.encyclopedia.com/economics/economics-magazines/lowes-companies-inc

"Lowe's Companies, Inc. ." Company Profiles for Students. . Retrieved April 15, 2021 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/economics/economics-magazines/lowes-companies-inc

Founded
1946
Company Founded
Headquarters
Mooresville, NC
Company Headquarter
Founders
Lucius Lowe
Company Founders

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