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Lowe’s Profits Increase 6.3% During Q4

Mooresville, N.C. — Lowe’s said solid performance in core categories and a nimble distribution network contributed to sales and earnings increases in the fourth quarter.

For the three months, ended Jan. 31, net earnings rose 6.3 percent to $306 million, including a $32 million asset impairment hit. Net sales increased 5.6 percent to $11.7 billion and comp sales edged up 3.9 percent.

 For the full fiscal year, profits increased 16.7 percent to $2.3 billion while net sales rose 5.7 percent to $53.4 billion and comps increased 4.8 percent.

“I am pleased with the progress we made throughout 2013 … as we transform our company,” said Robert Niblock, chairman, president and CEO of the No. 2 home-improvement chain. He attributed the fourth-quarter gains to “solid performance in core home improvement categories” and a distribution network that “responded quickly and efficiently to move product where it was most needed” in response to the severe winter weather.

In a research note, Janney Montgomery Scott retail analyst David Strasser said lower-than-anticipated comp performance at both Lowe’s and The Home Depot, which reported earnings yesterday, may be indicative of a slowing housing market, as “affordability remains stretched, household formation [is] soft and younger people are not in the market due to higher education debt.”