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Fourth quarter doesn’t slow Lowe’s

Mooresville, N.C. -- A fourth-quarter sales and net earnings decline did not prevent Lowe’s Companies from recording record earnings for fiscal 2006, as the big home improvement retailer said full-year net earnings grew 12.3% to $3.1 billion, while diluted earnings per share were up 15.0% to $1.99 for the year.

Still, the housing slump did affect the most recent activity, as comp sales for the quarter were down 5.3%, resulting in a flat year-to-year comparison. Full-year sales were $46.9 billion, up 8.5% compared to the 53-week preceding fiscal year, and up approximately 10% when adjusted to a 52-week comparison.

"We are encouraged by indications that our sales trends have bottomed. As a result, we believe our comparable store sales performance will gradually improve throughout 2007," said chairman and ceo Robert Niblock.

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