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DIY boosts earnings for Lowe's

http://66.225.205.104/JR20090518a.mp3

Mooresville-based Lowe's announced a better-than-expected quarterly profit today, in part because of the recession. WFAE's Julie Rose reports: Lowe's earned $476 million over the last three months - which was 22 percent less than it earned during the same quarter last year, but still better than analysts expected. Lowe's CEO Robert Niblock says the company had strong sales in paint, plumbing and other basics that have one thing in common - do it yourself. "Through the late 90s and in the first half of this decade we experienced significant growth of the DIFM or "Do it For Me" segment of our business," says Niblock. "Consumers had the cash, but not the time or the inclination to take on many projects around the house. Throughout this downturn, they've increasingly become more disciplined in their spending." Niblock says Lowe's customers are planting more gardens, doing more maintenance work and putting off big ticket purchases like flooring, kitchen remodels and high-end appliances. A side-effect of the do-it-yourself resurgence has been an up-tick in foot traffic at Lowe's stores with customers making frequent trips for that one last tool or piece of hardware every project seems to require. Niblock also sees signs that consumer confidence is improving and housing prices are stabilizing. So, Lowe's plans to open 60 or 70 new stores this year and predicts 2009 sales will come close to the $48 billion it sold in 2008.