Lowe's store closures, jobs decline hits California the hardest
The retail apocalypse has infected yet another struggling business.
On November 5, Lowe's ($NYSE:LOW) announced it would close 51 underperforming stores by February 1, 2019 at the end of the company's fiscal year. This comes two weeks before the home-improvement chains announces its third quarter sales. It also comes at the beginning of what looks be another good season for holiday home improvement.
“While decisions that impact our associates are never easy, the store closures are a necessary step in our strategic reassessment as we focus on building a stronger business,” said Marvin R. Ellison, the president and CEO Lowe's, in a press release.
Lowe's currently lists 1,718 open stores in the U.S. and Canada, with its largest concentration of stores being in the Eastern United States.
In terms of a raw store count, Texas has the most stores out of any state thanks to massive groupings around the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston metro areas. Florida and North Carolina, two states that deal with hurricanes that damages homes often, rank not too far behind of the Lone Star State.
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Out of all states and Canadian territories, Lowe's had to pull out of Ontario, Canada the most before its latest round of closures, as it shuttered double-digit stores since February 3, 2016.
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The additional 51 closings will hit Canada the hardest with 31 locations set to shutter there compared to 20 in the United States. Of the 20 in the U.S. set to close two are in Manhattan, where pricey Upper West Side and Chelsea rents for those locations will make way for less-expensive iterations across the Hudson and East Rivers.
Another Lowe's flagged for closure is in San Jose, California. The state of California is one of the largest in terms of Lowe's overall presence, as it had 110 locations before the next round of closures was announced. Located right next to San Jose International Airport, the soon-to-be closed store is only four miles from Lowes' other San Jose location which should see an uptick in foot traffic and customers.
When Orchard filed for bankruptcy in 2013, Lowe's swooped in and raked in 60 stores for only $205 million. Since then, Lowe's has had to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the west coast home improvement store, only to shut down the subsidiary three months ago in another effort to slim down its overall portfolio and cut its losses.
Along with these closures comes a drop in job openings, as the Lowe's careers website is listing about 2,000 less jobs now than it did during the usual holiday worker hiring spree in September and early October.
And much of their movement in California has weighed down openings significantly. The number of listed positions on Lowe's website in California is at its lowest point since June 2017, as at one point in late October, less than 200 jobs were available in stores around the state.
In California, a state that could be considered the sixth largest economy in the world should it decide to finally up and leave the U.S. (as it tried to many, many, many times), Lowe's appears to be conceding plenty of territory to rival Home Depot ($NYSE:HD).