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Lowe’s 1Q earnings fall

Lowe’s Cos. this morning reported lower first-quarter earnings compared with the same period last year.

The Mooresville-based home improvement retailer said it had net income of $461 million, or 34 cents per diluted share, down 6 percent from $489 million, or 34 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2010.

Lowe’s said sales for the quarter decreased 1.6 percent to $12.2 billion from $12.4 billion in the first quarter of 2010.

Robert Niblock, chairman and CEO, said that during the recent first quarter the company “faced ongoing economic pressures, unfavorable weather conditions and tough comparisons to last year’s government stimulus programs.”

During the recent first quarter, Lowe’s opened four stores, including one relocation, and closed one store that was damaged by a tornado. As of April 29, Lowe’s operated 1,751 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, representing 197.3 million square feet of retail selling space, a 1.6 percent increase over last year.

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