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Lowe’s Sales, Net Down In Fiscal Q4, Year

2/20/2009 03:56:00 PM Eastern

Mooresville, N.C. — Lowe's reported a 63 percent drop in net earnings, to $162 million, in its fiscal fourth quarter, ended Jan. 30, as compared with the year-ago quarter.

Sales for the quarter declined 3.8 percent to $9.98 billion.

For the fiscal year, ended Jan. 30, net earnings declined 21.9 percent to $2.20 billion compared with the previous year. Sales in the fiscal year declined 0.1 percent to $48.2 billion.

Comp-store sales declined 9.9 percent for the fourth quarter and 7.2 percent for fiscal 2008.

The chain said in a prepared statement that during the fourth-quarter holiday season, when Lowe’s competes with “a broader group of retailers for customer traffic, the competition for sales was intense. Reacting to the extreme promotional environment and to the sharp decline in consumer spending, the company chose to be more aggressive than planned with seasonal merchandise markdowns.”

During the quarter, Lowe's opened 33 new stores. As of Jan. 30, Lowe's operated 1,649 stores in the United States and Canada, representing 186.6 million square feet of retail selling space, a 7.2 percent increase over last year.

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