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Lowe's enters JV with Woolworths in Australia

Mooresville, N.C. –  Home improvement retailer Lowe's Companies will enter the Australian market through a joint venture with the country’s largest retailer, Woolworths Limited.

Lowe's will own a one-third stake in a new home improvement chain that is slated to open 150 stores over the next five years, with the first opening in the 2011 fiscal year.

Woolworth’s, with annual sales of US $41.5 billion, is a diversified retail company with more than 3,000 doors. It’s formats include Woolworths supermarkets, Big W discount stores, Dick Smith consumer electronics stores and liquor stores in Australia as well as three supermarket nameplates in New Zealand.

Australia’s home improvement market is estimated to be US $20 billion.

"The Australian love of property and high levels of home ownership mean that maintaining and improving homes is an important part of everyday life," said Michael Luscombe, Woolworths’ chief executive.

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