Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW), the world’s second largest home improvement retailer, today reported net earnings of $396 million for the quarter ended November 2, 2012, a 76.0 percent increase over the same period a year ago. Diluted earnings per share increased 94.4 percent to $0.35. For the nine months ended November 2, 2012, net earnings increased 10.1 percent from the same period a year ago to $1.67 billion, while diluted earnings per share increased 21.4 percent to $1.42. Included in the above reported results are charges related to long-lived asset impairments, discontinued projects, and a change in the discount rate applied to self-insurance claims which, in the aggregate, reduced pre-tax earnings for the third quarter by $85 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.05. For the same period a year ago, reported results included charges related to store closings, long-lived asset impairments, and discontinued projects which, in the aggregate, reduced pre-tax earnings by $368 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.18. Lowe’s fiscal year ends on the Friday nearest the end of January; therefore, fiscal year 2011 included 53 weeks. The quarterly comparisons in 2012, which is a 52-week year, are impacted by a shift in comparable weeks. Sales for the third quarter increased 1.9 percent to $12.1 billion from $11.9 billion in the third quarter of 2011. The week shift negatively impacted total sales by $62 million or 0.5 percent for the third quarter. For the nine month period, sales were $39.5 billion, a 2.3 percent increase over the same period a year ago. The week shift accounted for $192 million or 0.5 percent of the total sales increase for the nine month period. The week shift had an insignificant impact on diluted earnings per share in the third quarter. For the nine month period, the week shift contributed approximately $0.02 to diluted earnings per share.