While the real-estate slump that is pressuring home-improvement retailers hasn't gotten better, Lowe's Cos. performance has perked up a bit: The company says its net earnings for the second quarter
came in at $938 million--and while that's a 7.9% decline from the same period a year ago, it is still somewhat ahead of the company's forecast. Sales for the quarter gained 2.4% to $14.2 billion.
Comparable-store sales fell 5.3% in the quarter, and 6.7% in the first half. The company says it saw "relative strength in our seasonal sales as homeowners welcomed back spring and restored lawns and
outdoor landscaping following the effects of last year's drought in much of the country," as well as some gains from rebate checks. --Sarah Mahoney