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MOORESVILLE, NC- Lowe’s Companies Inc. said thatinclement weather impacted sales negatively during thefirst quarter and prevented it from meeting earningsguidance. Total sales rose 14% to $9.9 billion, whilesame stores sale increased 3.8%, well-below Lowe’soriginal estimates of a 5% to 6% increase and 9.9%growth for the same period last year.

“The impact of weather can be seen in our salesresults across the quarter, as monthly comps variedfrom positive high single digits in February tonegative low single-digits in March and the back topositive high single-digits in April,” says Robert A.Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO, pointingout that March was unusually wet and cold in manyparts of the country.

Same-store sales rose 7.5% inboth February and April, but declined 2% in March. The home improvement retailers posted earnings of $590million, a 30.5% increase over the same period in2004. Diluted earnings per share increased 32.1% to 74cents from 56 cents, but fell short of Lowe’sexpectations of 75 cents to 77 cents.

During the quarter, Lowe’s opened 27 new stores andnow operates 1,112 stores in 48 states. The retailerdidn’t modify in guidance for the second quarter.

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