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Saying “it’s tough all over” really doesn’t cut it when it comes to businesses trying to keep their head above water in a diverse and competitive market where the returns are slim and spending is down. Lowe’s announced that it will be closing 20 stores across the country and laying off just shy of 2,000 workers before the end of the year.

We hate to see any hardworking folks lose their jobs. It’s one of the hardest things to overcome in today’s economic landscape — however we’d like for Lowe’s not to be vilified, either. They still employ over 161,000 full-time people and 73,000 part timers, and the company plans to open 12 new stores next year, according to a Reuters article. This isn’t insignificant.

Lowe’s is simply doing what the rest of the country’s large businesses are doing: Analyzing where they think fat needs to be trimmed and trying to grow in the right direction using the resources they have available.

Does this make it any less frustrating for the people who lost their jobs in the process? Hell no — there’s no way to make that better, other than getting another job or not losing it in the first place. However, at least for the time being, it looks like Lowe’s is pursuing growth where they can. That said, it’s worrying to see closings of so many stores right before the holiday season when folks need the cash.

Lowe’s Closes Stores, Lays Off 1,950 Workers [Yahoo News]


24 Responses to Lowe’s to Close 20 Stores

  1. donutboy says:

    The Tacoma store that will be closing is an old Eagle store.

    Lowes = Less of What Eagle Sold.

    It’s in a hard to get to area and has a much bigger and better Home Depot across the street that is easier to get to and is surrounded by fast food stores. It’s time to shutter the doors on #26

  2. browndog77 says:

    I prefer to shop in Lowes over HD, but locally we have 2 spots where they compete from less than a mile apart and the Lowes will be deserted while the HD is packed w/ customers (or shoppers at least). The biggest diff I see between the 2 is the garden centers. HD seems to do a better job of drawing people into theirs. Otherwise, the places are almost clones. I think Lowes tool selection is slightly better, but this economy doesn’t really allow that to come into play. I know I don’t spend as much time there as I did in the past!

  3. DoItRite says:

    I’ve seen numerous examples where a Lowe’s is directly across the street from a Home Depot. They must have thought that it is a good marketing strategy, but it must also invite price shopping.

    Traditionally, I’ve found that Home Depot is better in the building materials: lumber, plywood, drywall
    and Lowes in better in the appliances, lighting, doors, plumbing fixtures as well as small quantity items, like switches for lamps, obscure plumbing parts, etc.

    Service is definitely better at Lowe’s. Home Depot service is non-existent.

  4. NPR’s coverage of this story today said the twenty stores to be closed are in less-profitable areas, and the twelve new ones are supposed to be better placed for profitability.

  5. Bob A. says:

    When you have a market with one of each I think it keeps them competitive. I do HD for paint, gloves, PassSeymour outlets and Ridgid tools, Lowes for Bosch and everything else. The new 5% discount on the Lowes card is a big reason I prefer big blue.

  6. Kris says:

    @DoItRite: Confirms what a contractor friend told me…he gets the materials for the start of a job from HD, at the end from Lowes.

  7. Slow Joe Crow says:

    I have a Lowes and a Home Depot roughly equidistant in opposite directions and the difference in stock is surprising. For my last project I needed some PVC pipe and fittings and HD had nothing while Lowes had all the dits I needed. Lowes also seems to do better with plumbing stuff.

  8. MattC says:

    It is a shame because it really is a microcosm of how bad the economy really is. Stores like HD/Lowes are usually the barometer of how well the economy is on a micro level. I am also in an area where there is a HD/Lowes/Ace hardware within 1/2 mile of each other. I tend to find that the service is better at Lowes compared to HD. Ace is great for customer service and buying items like pellets for a pellet stove ( I buy a ton annually) but obviously will not have the selection of the bigger two.

  9. Jerry says:

    Some things seem to be agreed on. One is that the service is better at Lowes. I am not sure the service is better. To me it seems that there are more employees at Lowes to help you if you need it but they seem to have little product knowledge. HD is a place you usually have to seek out help if you need it. Far fewer employees about. And, if you will need help, avoid HD around 7 or 8 in the morning. They have all the meetings then. Small groups of employees that can’t leave the meetings to help you. But maybe, the extra staffing is part of the downfall of Lowes. Or, just closing and opening to meet the change in market.

  10. Coach James says:

    It depepends on the store as to which has better service as that is usually manager driven. I have seen both stores with good and bad service. It is no accident that Lowes and HD build near each other just as it is no accident that restaurants tend to build near each other. I wish we had a HD to compete against our Lowes as the lumber at our Lowes is lousy and the selection of items supplies is very limited. Add to that, the fact that finding USA made tools in Lowes is almost impossible, Iwish we had a HD here.

  11. Blair says:

    we too have a Lowes, and Home Depot across the street from each other, and sometimes the pricing is really seriously different on the same items. The example that drove this home to me, was when I needed to buy some pine stair treads, and found that the exact same product was twice as much at Lowes, than the HD across the street. When I called Lowes back, I was told that”sometimes it just works out that way”, and if the products were from the same manufacturer, they would match the price… Of course they weren’t from the same manufacturer, so HD got the business, now I know this isn’t an across the board situation, and I do shop both places, I do believe that Hd is set up more for contractors than Lowes, which I tend to compare to a Target of the home improvement world, more about aesthetics, less emphasis on building supplies, but maybe that’s just me. I would hate to see either close though, it’s nice having both so close together.

  12. mnoswad1 says:

    Some of the comments above mention the varying prices for the same items………thats the problem with these stores……they carry the exact same things.

    Neither Lowes or HD has done anything better than the other store. The molding profiles are the same, the tiles are the same, the doors are the same…..(ever see a big box store actually stock solid core interior flush door slabs?)…….everything they sell is just like the other store……….its 50% junk, I cant even get commercial deadbolts at either store anymore……but I can get oil rubbed crap all day long.

  13. elmegil says:

    It’s not like Lowes is laying off to ship jobs overseas. I can completely see the need, although it’s no less sad for the people being laid off.

  14. Ian Random says:

    For specialized stuff I go to Lowes or the megasized local hardware store. When I want to get in and out quickly I always go to HD, there is never anybody in line or in the aisles.

  15. DaveMath says:

    I don’t how many of these stores staid open in the first place. There are 4 HDs within 20mins of me and 3 Lowe’s the quality and service are all over the board. It’s like they want to compete with themselves rather than just work on what they have. The only thing that there are more of per square mile is Chase banks and Starbucks:/ The Ace Hardwares pulled out about a year ago. This Growth Growth strategy isn’t working out how about quality quality?

    I go to the lumberyard to get what I need in materials and for tools Amazon Prime. It’s hard to support any business when they don’t have what you need. If I can’t find it on Amazon(rare) there are 40+ other places to get tools within 2-3 days at the most.

  16. GadgetLovingGeezer says:

    The Lowes store closest to me is just one of the stores just closed. This area had been booming with new construction until the recession began. That’s when this Lowes store opened. Bad timing.

    I used to shop at this Lowes store weekly, but wondered how they would stay open because I rarely saw more than a handful of customers in the store. The Home Depot 2 blocks away usually had many more customers and contractors at the same time Lowes was empty.

  17. Eddie says:

    I do not shop HD unless I have to. I do not support the same “agenda” they do. They pour a lot of money into a style of life I cannot support as normal or moral.

    Lowes will continue to have my business. If they close all the stores in my city (currently at least 5-so not likely) I will seek other alternitives to HD.

  18. Jules says:

    @ Eddie — I had no idea what you are referring to, but a quick Google search revealed that HD supports the rights of people to be free from discrimination based on sexual preference. Thanks for letting me know — now this hetero male will make a point of SUPPORTING HD’s anti-discrimiation stance by shopping there!

  19. Bob says:

    I knew there was a reason I preferred HD.

    Straight but not narrow.

  20. Eddie says:

    I guess your openmindeness extends to MBLA as well as Hd also supports this as part of the deal. You can stay away from my grandchildren.

  21. Toolfreak says:

    It’s amazing they’re only closing 20. Lowe’s has plenty of stores in relatively smaller cities, sometimes within minutes of each other, not to mention larger cities with several stores, sometimes more than 4 or 5!

    Sucks for those who got canned but if they only close these 20 and add 12 next year without closing any others, they will still have a ton.

    I don’t think the one here or the others in surrounding cities will be closing anytime soon, which is good because I enjoy going there for the deals.

    As for the Lowe’s / Home Depot thing, it’s great to have the competition. They definitely aren’t specialty stores, but you can’t really expect that from a big box. Enjoy the ability to comparison shop and get the best prices, go elsewhere for other stuff, pretty simple.

  22. Scott Rupert says:

    I have 3 Lowes and 2 Home Depots within about the same amount of driving distance. 2 of the Lowes are closer by a #8 screw margin, though, so I end up at Lowes more often than Home Depot. Although my preferred store to shop in is a Menards. I grew up next to one and there is one 45 minutes away that I stop by every chance I get.

    However, usually when I’m making a big purchase I will shop all three to see who is going to give me the better deal or better quality item. In the case of my 1 ton paver stone wall I constructed to protect my grill last year Menards was the only one with the color and style I wanted. Also Menards was the only one with the cedar boards I needed to rapair my fence last year as well.

    *shrugs* As long as they stay in business I like the competition and differing availability the three chains provide me with.

  23. Gary Z says:

    Something to keep in mind is that HD is targeting the contractor while Lowes is targeting the homeowner, specifically the woman in the home. They both sell to both demographics, but they do cater to specific groups.
    Something both could do is hire people who are trainable and who will be customer oriented. My experience at both when looking for tools has been excruciating. Ask for a hinge mortising jig or a beam compass and you will surely get a deer in the headlights response. Expect great service from both……enough said.

  24. @Eddie I’m glad you brought this up, because I wasn’t aware of Home Depot’s commitment to treating all people like human beings. Now I’ll drive the extra couple of miles to go there instead of Lowe’s.

    Also, it’s pretty outrageous to accuse Home Depot of supporting pedophilia. Really? Where’s the evidence? My research shows that this accusation in reality comes from people who were angry that HD set up kid-friendly tool booths demonstrating DIY skills at gay pride events.

    Basically you (and these other angry people) are equating the recognition that gay people have families – including kids – to endorsement of pedophilia. You do realize that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people are consenting adults, not pedophiles, right? Also, they are human beings with feelings.

    As they say: be careful who you hate – it might be someone you love.

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