Home improvement retailer Lowe's posted mixed results in its fourth quarter earnings report for 2018 as the company attempts to transform its business, The Charlotte Observer reports. Many of the efforts by Lowe's are attempts to compete with its chief rival, The Home Depot.

Lowe's CEO Marvin Ellison said priorities for the retailer in 2019 include exiting non-core business markets, getting rid of slow-moving inventory at stores, improving IT capabilities, and better serving professional contractors.

Pro customers, such as contractors, spend an average of five times as much as the typical do-it-yourself shopper, Lowe’s has said. Home Depot has traditionally excelled with pro customers; Lowe’s hopes to catch up.

”We want to improve our overall service and engage DIY customers, but we want to have a more intentional focus on pro (customers),” Ellison said in a call with analysts.

The retailer cited its recent sponsorship deal with the National Football League as a way it is attempting to grow its professional customer base. The company hopes the visibility that comes with its NFL sponsorship will positively benefit the business. The retailer also cut ties with NASCAR after the professional racing association experienced falling ticket sales and shrinking television audiences.

Ellison has said that former leadership at Lowe’s “lost its way” over the years by moving away from popular brands to increase margins, while losing expertise in stores and falling behind in IT development.

In December, Lowe’s said it will hire roughly 2,000 software engineers over the next few years as it works to modernize its digital capabilities. Those jobs, Ellison said, will “help us catch up in the world of retail technology.”

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