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Lowe's posts Q4 gains in sales and earnings


Lowe's posted fourth-quarter earnings of $205 million, up 26.5% from the same period last year.

Comp-store sales for the quarter declined 1.6%, on sales of $10.2 billion, up 1.8% from the fourth quarter of 2008.

“Our fourth-quarter results, including sales and earnings that exceeded our guidance, suggest the worst of the economic cycle is likely behind us,” said Robert Niblock, Lowe’s chairman and CEO. “While the psychological impact of falling home prices and an uncertain employment picture continue to weigh on consumers, improving comparable-store sales trends, including improvement in many bigger-ticket, project categories, provides an encouraging sign that consumers are gaining the confidence to take on more discretionary projects.”

For the full year, the company posted earnings of $1.78 billion, down 18.8% from the previous year. For the fiscal year ended Jan. 29, sales declined 2.1% to $47.2 billion.

During the quarter, Lowe’s opened 11 stores. As of Jan. 29, the company operated an empire of 1,710 stores in the United States and Canada representing 193.2 million sq. ft. of retail selling space, a 3.5% increase over last year. The company expects to open 40 to 45 stores in 2010, reflecting total square footage growth of approximately 2%.

Lowe's rival Home Depot will release its fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday.

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