"We'll be ready to add stores when the time is right," saidLarry Stone, Lowe's president and chief operation officer. Theretailer has faced challenges in California, Florida and the GulfCoast region.

Same-store sales for the quarter, which ended Feb. 1, declined7.6% year over year, as problems in the housing market held theretailer back. Total sales fell 0.3%, to just under $10.4 billion,while diluted earnings per share sank 30%, to 28 cents.

For 2008, executives are forecasting a 5% to 6% decline insame-store sales from 2007, while total sales are expected to fall3%. Lowe's is spending $103 million this year on new-storeopenings.

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