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Lowe's Q3 Net Up 33.3%

11/17/2003 08:48:00 AM Eastern

Mooresville, N.C. - Claiming a balanced performance across product categories and across all regions of the country home improvement retailer Lowe's registered a 23.5 percent sales increase in its fiscal third quarter.

Sales reached $7.9 billion for the three months, up from $6.4 billion in the year-ago period. Same-store sales climbed 12.4 percent.

Lowe's enjoyed a 33.3 percent increase in net earning for the third quarter, ended Oct. 31, coming in at $452 million, compared with $339 million in the same period in 2002.

During the third quarter, Lowe's opened 38 stores, including two relocations. At the end of the three months, the chain operated 932 stores in 45 states. The retailer expects to open 47 stores in the fourth quarter.

For the nine months, Lowe's recorded sales of $23.9 billion, a 17.4 percent increase over the $20.1 billion reported in the same period a year earlier. Comp-store sales jumped 6.5 percent, while net earnings rose to $1.5 billion, from $1.1 billion.

Total sales for the fourth quarter are expected to rise 18 percent to 19 percent, with comp-store sales climbing 6 percent to 7 percent. Operating margin for the three months, ended Jan. 30, 2004, is anticipated to be flat to slightly positive.

In the 12 months, Lowe's expects to open 130 stores, as total sales increase about 18 percent for the year. The retailer anticipates reporting a comp-store sales increase of 6 percent to 7 percent for the fiscal 12 months.

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