William P. Boltz
Executive Vice President, Merchandising at Lowe's Companies
Thanks, Marvin, and good morning everyone. In the fourth quarter U.S. comparable sales increased 5.1% and 35.2% on a two year basis. We delivered positive comps in all three merchandising divisions in the quarter, with growth across Pro and DIY customers. Growth was well balanced with 12 to 15 merchandising departments comping positive and was broad based on a 2-year basis with all 15 departments up more than 18% in that time frame. Beginning with our home decor merchandising division, flooring into appliances delivered the strongest comps in the quarter.
In flooring, vinyl flooring once again led the way as we continue to see consumer preference shifting towards this affordable and stylish solution. Lowe's already offers a wide selection of vinyl flooring products including several Pergo WetProtect options and this year, we look forward to extending our own trusted STAINMASTER brand with its high performance characteristics and lifetime stain resistant warranty across a full range of flooring products including laminate, tile and vinyl.
Within appliances, sales of ranges, cooktops along with dishwashers were the strongest in the quarter. As we continue to extend our private brand offering, we recently launched Origin 21 across several product categories in home decor. This is our new modern brand designed for the trend setting millennial consumer while our ever-popular Allen + Roth brand is tailored to the more traditional style. Now turning to our performance in hardlines the team delivered an exceptional holiday season. Customers were active early in shopped often in our treatment category, which drove excellent sell-through in this holiday category.
Seasonal, outdoor, living and lawn and garden delivered standout performances as customers continue to enhance their outdoor living spaces with new grills, patio heaters, fire pits as well as live goods for the yards and garden. With the home serving as a center for entertainment, our customers are making the most of their homes inside and our continue to build on our number one position in outdoor power equipment with further share gains in battery outdoor power equipment.
As we drove over 37% growth in this area for the quarter and over 118% on a two year basis. Both DIY and Pro customers enjoy the convenience, reliability and the power of our innovative battery powered products available in the EGO, Kobalt, CRAFTSMAN and SKIL brands. In this spring we are thrilled to expand our exclusive lineup of EGO battery products with their new 52 inch 0 turn riding mower with features that include a fabricated deck and power to move up to four acres on a single charge also new for EGO is the industry's most powerful handheld battery powered blower with power that will outperform the leading gas blower with 765 cubic feet per minute of blowing capacity these new products will complement our existing lineup and assortments from powerful brands such as John Deere, Honda, Husqvarna, Ariens and CRAFTSMAN.
This spring, we will launch our new Origin 21 patio collections as well as our new style selection replacement cushions. These cushions are made with a 100% recycled plastic bottles and there are fade resistant, UV protected as well as easy to clean. Now turning to the Building Products division, our comps were very strong. Driven by broad based balanced growth across lumber, electrical rough plumbing, millwork in building materials. We are pleased with the continued momentum we are building with the Pro as we work to expand our brand and product offerings to meet their project needs.
This this year will be a full range of CertainTeed roofing, Insulation and Gypsum products. As a leading manufacturer of building products for both residential and commercial construction CertainTeed is an important strategic partner that we are proud to add to Lowe's as we continue to enhance our Pro offering in the building materials category. We also continue to build out our Pro power tool program with the introduction of the new, the DEWALT POWERSTACK battery technology, which is the smallest and most energy dense battery pack on the market.
These new products and new brands are strong additions to our Pro brand arsenal which already includes other great brands like Bosch, Eaton, Estwing, Fasten Master, FLEX, GRK, ITW, Lesko, Little Giant, Lufkin, Mansfield, MARSHALLTOWN, Matabo, SharkBite, Simpson Strong-Tie, SPAX, Spyder and Werner. Moving to lowe's.com as Marvin mentioned we delivered sales growth of 11.5% in the quarter and 147% on a two year basis in the fourth quarter. We are focused on further enhancing our omnichannel capabilities in 2022 across three key areas. Expanding our online assortment, enhancing the user experience and improving fulfillment.
First, we are expanding our lowes.com assortment to meet our customers' design and lifestyle needs. For example, within Lowe's livable home products we will offer a range of products to help our customers adapt to their changing mobility needs. At the same time, we will continue to enhance the user experience with continued upgrades to the visualization and configuration tools like Kitchen Visualizer and Measure Your Space. Finally, as we continue to improve our fulfillment capabilities, our customers can now track their appliance delivery in real time and we will soon be leveraging enhanced technology to further streamline the buy online, pickup, in-store experience for our customers through an improved store execution process.
As we look ahead to screen, we are well positioned to capitalize on what we expect to be another strong spring season. Consistent with our approach over the past year. We have worked hard to land our spring product early through an expansion of our network of coastal holding facilities we are better able to manage the flow of imported products. Enabling us to quickly flow product where needed as spring arrives across the country. As one of the largest importers in the U.S., we continue to leverage our scale and carrier relationships to secure capacity and work to mitigate and manage the impact of cost increases across our supply chain. Before I close, I'd like to extend my appreciation to our merchants and inventory and supply chain teams along with our vendors for their hard work and continued support.
Thank you, and I'll now turn the call over to Joe. Thanks, Bill and good morning everyone. I would like to begin by thanking our frontline associates for delivering tremendous results in 2020. In recognition of their outstanding efforts we awarded to discretionary year-end bonus of $6,000 for assistant store managers $1,000 for department supervisors $800 for full-time hourly associates and $400 for part-time hourly associates. As Marvin mentioned, the combination of winning together and this discretionary year-end bonus will result in a payout of over $350 million for our frontline associates this quarter. As someone who started his career at home improvement as an hourly associates. I understand how meaningful this type of financial recognition is for our hourly associates. At Lowe's, our people are truly our most valuable asset. When it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent we strive to be an employer of choice. From the moment that a candidate applies for position that Lowe's. We are committed to creating a positive impression. We have invested in leading technology that accelerates the hiring process, so that we are processing applications in a matter of minutes rather than the weeks that the manual process required as recently as last year. We also continue to improve our on-boarding process, so, that our new hires can quickly come up to speed, leveraging the technology and product knowledge that is readily available to them on their handheld mobile devices via the Lowe's University application. As I mentioned on our last call, we are also leveraging our new Lowe's University in-store training labs to provide the ongoing training that our associates need to build their skills and confidence, so they can continue to progress in their career. Over the last 3 years, we have created valuable career opportunities for our associates with the incremental 10,000 department supervisor roles and a 1,600 ASM positions that we have added. Since 2018, we have also invested well over $2 billion of incremental wage and equity programs for our frontline associates to ensure that we continue to offer a strong competitive wage and benefit package to our associates. I'm really pleased to report that our investments to position Lowe's as an employer of choice are paying off. Heading in the spring, we anticipate to be in even better position than last year from a hiring perspective and we are also confident that we will continue to drive productivity in our operations to our perpetual productivity improvement or PPI initiatives as a reminder, this is not a single win. It is a series of improvements that are scaling across our stores over time. In fact, we are working on over 20 different PPI initiatives in our store operations this year. To highlight just a few key PPI initiatives we have just launched a new store inventory management system or SIMS across all of our stores this platform give store associates real-time visibility to inventory in their store this includes inventory in the home bay location as well as product in the top stock and cap, off shelf and back stock room. This new system will eliminate the countless non-productive hours associates have been spending looking for product. I'm also excited about our continuing efforts to eliminate the ancient green screen technology with the launch of our simplified user interface to other selling stations throughout the store. First introduced at our front-end registers, we are beginning to implement this new technology across the sales front. With this new platform, we are accelerating the associate training process, and facilitated cross training and other departments. This new technology will free up our associates to focus on providing excellent customer service, while reducing customer wait time. While these two initiatives are just a few of the PPI deliverables plan for this year, we expect that these two initiatives alone will drive $100 million of productivity this year. Looking forward, we will continue to leverage technology to reduce manual tasking for our associates, while also enabling them to deliver better service to our Pro and DIY customers I would like to close once again by thanking our store associates for their continued hard work and dedication and the great results we achieved together this year. With that I will turn it over to Dave.