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Business Rebounds At Lowe's, Home Depot

2/23/2011 12:44:32 PM Eastern

New York - Operational
upgrades and the recovering economy sent fourth-quarter profits soaring for the
two leading home improvement chains.

Home Depot's
fourth-quarter earnings skyrocketed 72 percent to $587 million on sales of
$15.1 billion, a 3.8 percent increase year-over-year. Comp-store sales rose 3.9
percent globally and 4.8 percent in the U.S. for the three months ended Jan.

About a quarter of the domestic
comp-store increase was attributable to major appliances, the company said.

Frank Blake said merchandising and distribution initiatives, improved customer
service and the recovering economy helped drive the strong results.

Meanwhile, Lowe's
reported a 39-percent spike in fourth-quarter earnings, to $285 million, while
net sales rose 3.1 percent to $10.5 billion. Comp sales for the three months
ended Jan. 28 edged up 1.1 percent in North America.

"While uncertainty in the market remains, the economic recovery
is continuing," noted chairman/CEO Robert Niblock. "We are committed to
delivering better customer experiences and expect to grow market share in 2011
as we make continued progress on our key initiatives."

During the quarter Lowe's opened 17 stores and closed two, giving
it 1,749 stores in North America.

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