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Report: Lowe’s sees sales upturn in 2010

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New York City Lowe's Cos. executives said Tuesday that they expect sales to begin rising again in fiscal 2010 as the housing market stabilizes, even as consumers have changed the way they approach home-improvement projects amid the recession, according to the Associated Press.

During a meeting with analysts, CEO Robert A. Niblock said consumers' approach to home improvement has changed and that they are now spreading out time to complete a project, doing more work themselves and reducing the scope of projects. But the home remains many consumers' largest asset, and people are still tackling home-improvement projects, he added.

Lowe's on Tuesday said it is evaluating the cash flow of its stores, and although it did not take any operating store impairment charges during the first half of the fiscal year, it may take up to $100 million in charges related to the declining value of some stores amid the recession. That might include closing stores, but not necessarily, the company said. However, its 2009 outlook excludes the potential charges because they are uncertain.

The chain said it plans to open between 35 stores and 45 stores in fiscal 2010.

Lowe's plans to open two stores in Mexico during the current fiscal year. It recently entered into a joint venture to open stores in Australia, and its first store there will likely be in 2011, with the potential for 150 large-format stores potential in the market, the company said.

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