Lowe's scales back store plans

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Lowe's Monday announced that it would close several stores and discontinue a number of planned new store projects as the company looks to bounce back from a second quarter of declining earnings and flat same-store sales.

The company closed 10 locations on Oct. 16 and said it would close another 10 within the month, following an inventory sell-through.

In addition, after completing a comprehensive review of its pipeline of proposed new stores, the company announced it has discontinued a number of planned new store projects. Lowe’s said it now expects to open 10 to 15 stores per year in North America from 2012 forward, compared with a prior assumption of approximately 30 stores per year. The company said it is on track to open approximately 25 stores in 2011, as planned.

“Closing stores is never easy, given the impact on hard-working employees and local communities,” said Robert Niblock, chairman, president and CEO. “However, we have an obligation to make tough decisions when necessary to improve profitability and strengthen our financial position.

“Lowe’s remains committed to making strategic investments and focusing resources in a manner that will generate the greatest shareholder value, enhance the customer shopping experience and create sustained customer loyalty over the long term,” added Niblock.

Lowe's said that approximately 1,950 employees will be affected by these closings. The company said it will be working with local government agencies to help employees with outplacement assistance.

The stores affected by Monday's announcement are located in:

  • Los Banos, Calif.    

  • Biddeford, Maine   

  • Old Bridge, N.J.

  • Westminster, Calif.

  • Ellsworth, Maine

  • Batavia, N.Y.

  • Denver, Colo.

  • Ionia, Minn.

  • N. Kingstown, Rhode Island

  • Aurora, Ill.

  • Rogers, Minn.

  • Emporia, Va.

  • Oswego, Ill.

  • Claremont, N.H.

  • S. Tacoma, Wash.

  • Chalmette, La.

  • Hooksett, N.H.

  • Brown Deer, Wis.

  • Haverhill, Mass.

  • Manchester, N.H.

Despite the store closings and a fewer new stores planned, Lowe's remains committed to improving its brand image and boosting its performance. The company recently launched a new brand strategy to help better position itself as a market leader in home improvement retailing. The company's new tagline, "Never Stop Improving,"  replaced "Let's Build Something Together," in a new advertising campaign that has begun airing