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Lowe's Profit Falls 60% in Q4

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Chicago Lowe's Cos., Inc. said Friday its fourth-quarter profit dropped 60%.

Earnings declined to $162 million in the three months ending Jan. 30, from $408 million during the same period last year.

The company said revenue fell 4% to $9.98 billion from $10.4 billion a year ago.

Lowe's said it faced intense competition during the holiday season and had to make more aggressive discounts on seasonal products, which squeezed gross margins, but helped it reduce inventory in stores.

Quarterly same-store sales dropped 9.9%.

The company opened 33 new stores in the fourth quarter, bringing its North American store count to 1,649 locations.

For the year, Lowe's profit declined 22% to $2.2 billion, down from a profit of $2.81 billion in the prior year.

Annual revenue dipped to $48.2 billion from $48.3 billion. Same-store sales for 2008 fell 7.2%.