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Lowes works brands

New York — Partnering with national brands helps differentiate Lowes from the competition, and the reputation of these brands, and "the prestige they bring to the shelves cannot be overstated," said Robert Niblock, president, at the U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray consumer conference.

It's not an opening price point strategy, he explained, but a merchandising strategy to capitalize on its stores and showcase premium brands, which include Waverly. With store expansion plans of about 15 percent for both this year and next, Lowe's is only in 22 percent of the top 25 markets, said Marshall Croom, vp and treasurer. Fifty percent of the opportunity for the home improvement sector is in these markets, and so this year, 65 percent of the 130 stores scheduled to open will be in these markets.

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