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Lowe's reports third-quarter earnings decline

Mooresville, N.C.-based home improvement giant Lowe's reported net earnings of $225 million for the quarter ended Oct. 28, a 44.3% decline from the same period a year ago.

Sales for the quarter increased 2.3% to $11.9 billion, up from $11.6 billion in the third quarter of 2010. For the nine months, sales were $38.6 billion, an increase of 0.6 % from the same period a year ago.

Comparable-store sales for the third quarter increased 0.7%, and for the first nine months of 2011 decreased 1.0%.

"Our performance is not at the level we expect relative to the market," said Robert Niblock, Lowe's chairman, president and CEO. "We are making the changes necessary to right size the organization, improve speed to market and enhance the shopping experience. We are keenly focused on improving our core business while also developing new capabilities and services for the future. I am confident we are moving forward on a clear path that is not dependent on an unlikely near-term economic recovery."

Charges related to store closings and discontinued projects reduced pre-tax earnings for the quarter by $336 million.

During the quarter, Lowe's opened eight stores. As of Oct. 28, Lowe's operated 1,744 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico, representing 196.5 million sq. ft. of retail selling space, a 0.5% increase over last year.