MOORESVILLE, NC - Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) net earnings fell 44.3 percent to $225 million for the third quarter ending October 28, 2011.

Sales at Lowe's increased 2.3 percent to $11.9 billion, versus 2010's third quarter. As a purveyor of lumber, cabinetry, tools and home improvement supplies, Lowe's results reflect the health of home improvement businesses as well.

Earnings were hit by charges of $336 million related to store closings and discontinued projects. Lowe's closed seven stores in August and layed off 650. In October, Lowe's announced the closure of 20 stores in 15 states.

For the nine months ended October 28, 2011, Lowe's, the world's second largest home improvement retailer after Home Depot, reported sales of $38.6 billion, an increase of 0.6 percent from the same period a year ago.

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