Business

Lowe’s plans layoffs as it changes store staffing model

A Lowe’s store in Gastonia is shown in this photo from February 2014.
A Lowe’s store in Gastonia is shown in this photo from February 2014. mhames@charlotteobserver.com

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s is expected to lay off employees as the Mooresville-based company overhauls the staffing model for its stores, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.

Lowe’s employs roughly 285,000 in the United States and elsewhere, including thousands in Mooresville. The company operates or services about 2,355 home-improvement and hardware stores across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Under the reshuffling, Lowe’s will shift responsibilities and roles for some staff while eliminating fewer than 1 percent of jobs, the person said. Some affected employees will be moved to new roles, while others will be laid off as positions are consolidated.

The retailer will roll out the new staffing model nationwide in a strategy to increase face time with customers, the person said, as the company adjusts to changing customer needs.

Lowe’s declined to comment beyond a statement provided to the Observer.

“While we have no announcements to share, we continually evaluate our staffing model to ensure we have the resources in place to serve customers’ evolving expectations and their home improvement needs,” the company said.

The decision, first reported by CNBC, comes after Lowe’s in November reported third-quarter earnings and sales that fell below Wall Street expectations, a slowdown that prompted the retailer to slash its full-year expectations.

During a conference call with analysts at the time, Lowe’s executives said slower sales in August and September pressured its profitability for the third quarter. CEO Robert Niblock said one of the ways Lowe’s sought to improve shareholder value is to “better match labor to demand.” Most of the “labor adjustments” were in stores rather than at the corporate office, he said. Lowe’s corporate office is in Mooresville.

Lowe’s, the second-largest U.S. home improvement retailer behind Home Depot, has also said it began reducing store employees’ hours in the U.S. as a way to improve profitability after a slowdown in customer traffic in the late summer months.

The latest layoffs follow other recent downsizing by Lowe’s.

In October, it announced layoffs of 95 employees in its information technology department following a review of its IT resources, which the company said resulted in the “streamlining” of IT processes.

Sixty of those positions were at Lowe’s corporate headquarters, with the remainder at other company locations in North Carolina and Texas, a spokeswoman said at the time.

Lowe’s supplied more than 150 volunteer staff members and a $50,000 grant Wednesday to help with a much needed renovation of a gym at the Salvation Army Belmont Boys & Girls Club in Charlotte. The volunteers, recruited from 23 Lowe’s stores, rippe

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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