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Lowe’s Posts Lower 4Q Profit

Charlotte, N.C. Lowe's Cos. reported lower quarterly profit on Monday and forecast full-year earnings below Wall Street estimates, citing “challenging” days to come as the slumping housing market hurts sales. The company also pared its store growth plans for the year.

Earnings came to $408 million for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 1, down 33% from $613 million a year earlier. Sales edged down to $10.38 billion from $10.41 billion a year earlier. Same-store sales fell 7.6%.

The home-improvement sector has suffered as consumers pulled back spending on home renovations in the face of declining home values, lower sales and tighter credit requirements.

The retailer said it plans to open 120 stores in 2008. In September, it said it would open 135 to 145 stores in North America annually from 2008 through 2010. During its 2007 fiscal year, Lowe’s opened 153 stores, including about four relocations.

For the year, Lowe's reported earnings of $2.8 billion compared with $3.1 billion in 2007. Revenue rose to $48.3 billion from $46.9 billion a year ago.

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