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Like competitor Home Depot, Lowe’s was able to make money off homeowners’ new focus on remodeling. Executives have still had to cut costs, though — the home improvement chain laid off about 1,700 managers in stores across the country this January.But sales are growing, and Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock is optimistic for a rebound, saying in a recent earnings call: “While uncertainty in the market remains, the economic recovery is continuing.” —S.D.