No. 2 U.S. home improvement chain Lowe's Cos Inc backed its outlook on Tuesday for the year ending Jan. 29, but said it might have to recognize impairment charges related to operating stores in the second half of the period.

The company blamed continuing uncertainty about the economic recovery for the possible charges but said it did not expect them to exceed $100 million.

Lowe's, which had recently decided to curb its North American store expansion plans after a 19 percent drop in quarterly profit, said its future growth would be fueled by prudent store expansion in underserved markets and international opportunities.

The news came nearly a month after the Lowe's made its first foray outside North America through a joint venture with Woolworths Ltd, Australia's largest retailer. (Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan in Bangalore, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)