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Lowe’s reported net earnings of $322 million for the quarter ended Feb. 3, a 13.0% increase over the same period a year ago.
Sales for the fourth quarter increased 11.0% to $11.6 billion, up from $10.5 billion in the same period a year ago.
“We delivered solid results for the quarter, including earnings per share that exceeded our guidance,” commented Robert Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO. “I am encouraged by the progress we made in 2011 toward delivering better customer experiences and transforming our business to drive long-term sales growth, increased profitability and shareholder value. I would like to thank our hard-working employees for their ongoing dedication and customer focus.
“In 2012, we will capitalize on refinements we have made to our operating strategies as well as our efforts to improve the customer experience,” Niblock added. “The team is well positioned to drive stronger comparable store sales growth and expanded operating margins.”
For the fiscal year ended Feb. 3, sales were $50.2 billion, a 2.9% increase over the prior fiscal year. Full year net earnings decreased 8.5% to $1.8 billion from the prior fiscal year.
Comparable-store sales for the fourth quarter increased 3.4% versus a comparable 14-week period, while comparable-store sales for the U.S. business increased 3.5%. Comparable-store sales for the fiscal year were essentially flat.
As of Feb. 3, Lowe’s operated 1,745 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico, representing 196.5 million sq. ft. of retail selling space.