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Lowe’s Posts Lower Earnings, Higher Sales

Mooresville, N.C.
– Lowe’s reported lower net earnings but higher net sales for the quarter
ending April 30.

Net earnings were
$489 million for the quarter, a 2.7 percent decrease from the prior year’s
fiscal first quarter.

Sales for the
quarter increased 4.7 percent to $12.4 billion, up from $11.8 billion in fiscal
first quarter of last year. Comp-store sales for the first quarter increased
2.4 percent.

“Consumers are
showing signs of reengagement in home improvement, including discretionary projects
and purchases of bigger-ticket products, which had taken a back seat during the
worst of the economic downturn,” commented Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chairman
and CEO. “This, combined with the government stimulus programs and favorable
weather in March and April, drove solid quarterly sales and earnings that
exceeded our guidance.

“While we are
optimistic we will experience solid demand through the balance of the year, we
view 2010 as a year of transition for our industry. We remain confident that
our commitment to providing excellent customer service, combined with great merchandising,
will drive profitable sales and market share growth.”

During the
quarter, Lowe’s opened 11 stores. As of April 30, Lowe’s operated 1,721 stores
in the United States, Canada and Mexico, representing 194.3 million square feet
of retail selling space, a 2.9 percent increase over last year.

In the second
quarter Lowe’s expects to open approximately four new stores, reflecting square
footage growth of approximately 2 percent. Total sales are expected to increase
5 percent to 7 percent, and the chain expects comp-store sales to increase 2
percent to 4 percent.

Earnings before
interest and taxes as a percentage of sales (operating margin) is expected to
increase approximately 40 basis points.

expense is expected to be approximately $400 million.