Home improvement chains look to sales rebound in late 2007

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U.S. home improvement chains Home Depot and Lowe’s are looking to recover well from a sluggish 2006 and expect business to pick up in the second half of 2007.

At Home Depot, same-store sales fell 6.6 per cent for the fourth quarter and 2.8 per cent for 2006. The company is planning to stock more competitively priced grilling, landscaping and patio products to persuade shoppers back.

At Lowe’s, same-store sales fell 5.3 per cent for the fourth quarter and were flat for the year. “Sales continued to be pressured by a slowing housing market, tough comparisons to last year’s hurricane recovery and rebuilding efforts, and significant deflation in lumber and plywood prices,” said Lowe’s Chairman and CEO Robert Niblock. Lowe’s plans to open 15 stores during the first quarter. “We are encouraged by implications our sales trends have bottomed,” Niblock said. Lowe’s says it anticipates a same-store sales rise of as much as 2 per cent for 2007 on the whole.

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