Lowe's lays off thousands as it turns to third-party vendors

Posted Aug 1, 2019 by Karen Graham
Home improvement retailer, Lowe's, is laying off possibly thousands of workers from its 1,725 stores across the country. The cuts reportedly only affect in-store assemblers and maintenance staff.
Lowe s Home Improvement Center #487 with a Lowe s rental truck on display outside at 1801 Fordham Bo...
Lowe's Home Improvement Center #487 with a Lowe's rental truck on display outside at 1801 Fordham Boulevard in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Ildar Sagdejev (CC BY-SA 4.0)
The layoffs include assemblers, maintenance, and facility-service staff. It is unclear exactly how many employees will have their jobs eliminated. Lowe's has over 1,700 stores and 190,000 full-time and 110,000 part-time employees in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Lowe's new CEO, Marvin Ellison, who joined the company last year from J C Penney, has launched a new and ambitious turn-around plan to compete with Home Depot and other retailers. This has included the closing of 20 US stores, exiting its Mexico business and shutting down its 99 Orchard Supply Hardware stores in the United States, reports CNN Business News.
“We are moving to third-party assemblers and facility services to allow Lowe’s store associates to spend more time on the sales floor serving customers. Associates who were in these positions will be given transition pay and have the opportunity to apply for open roles at Lowe’s,” the company said in a statement to CNBC.
The home improvement sector is one of the very few businesses that have managed to thrive, despite Amazon and other online retailers. Unlike many department stores, Lowe's and other home improvement stores have closed very few stores.
"In this very challenging retail landscape, we're fortunate to be in a sector with high demand," Ellison said at a retail conference in June. "We're focused on what we call retail fundamentals."
According to the Charlotte Observer, in June, Lowe's announced plans to build a 2,000-employee global tech hub in South End in Charlotte. The hub will be housed in a new 23-story tower adjacent to the Rail Trail. Plans call for the hiring of 1,600 employees.