Big Box Battle: Home Depot vs. Lowe's

The home-improvement giants have been hammered by housing-market worries. Which can better withstand a slump?

A tough year for home-improvement retailers just got tougher. Home Depot (HD) reported soft second-quarter earnings on Aug. 15 and cautioned that it expects only slight gains for the rest of 2006 (see BusinessWeek.com, 8/16/06, "Wal-Mart, Home Depot Hit Potholes"). Fast-forward nearly one week, and it's a similar story: Lowe's (LOW) echoed its larger rival on Aug. 21, posting lackluster second-quarter results and warning of a sales slowdown.

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