Retailer Lowe's Cos. said that a softer U.S. housing market helped drive its fourth-quarter earnings down 33.4%. The company also said it expects sales in established stores to drop at least 5% in the current quarter and for the year. But that would be an improvement over the 7.6% decline in the fourth quarter.
Lowe's said its profit in the period ending Feb. 1 fell to $408 million, or $0.28 a share, from $613 million, or $0.40 per share, in the prior-year period. Sales remained virtually steady at just less than $10.4 billion. Same-store sales — a gauge or retail health that measures sales at stores open at least a year — declined 7.6% for the fourth quarter.