Amid efforts to improve its profitability, Lowe’s has laid off about 125 corporate tech workers, primarily at its headquarters in Mooresville.
The home-improvement retailer informed affected employees Wednesday morning through early afternoon, according to people familiar with the matter.
Many of the affected information technology job functions are being sent to Bangalore, India, where Lowe’s employs approximately 1,000 people in information and technology and analytics.
Wednesday’s layoffs are the latest in several rounds of reductions over the last year.
Lowe’s eliminated 96 corporate tech jobs in October, then in January cut another 2,400 full-time jobs, mostly at the store level. In February, it followed with more than 500 corporate layoffs, including 430 at its headquarters in Mooresville and 70 support staffers in Wilkesboro.
“Everybody’s kind of like, ‘When’s the next wave coming?’” said one former IT employee who has been laid off by the company. He asked to remain anonymous to protect business relationships.
In a memo to IT workers Wednesday, Chief Information Officer Paul Ramsay said the staffing reductions are part of planning effort that began “several years ago” to build a more diverse, global team to respond better “in this highly competitive 24/7 retail environment” and more quickly to “evolving consumer needs.”
“It is always incredibly hard to make decisions such as these that directly impact our people and our teams,” Ramsay said. He added that the company will be providing a competitive severance package and outplacement services, including a job fair with local IT employers.
Bangalore has been described as the “Silicon Valley of India.” Other major corporations have a growing presence in the IT hub, including Oracle, Dell, IBM and GE, according to a recent Wired story. Another is Wipro, an outsourcing firm used by Observer parent McClatchy.
The latest staffing changes come at a critical time for Lowe’s. Last month, the company posted disappointing sales and earnings numbers for the first quarter. Lowe’s has been working to catch up to its larger rival, Atlanta-based Home Depot, which has consistently outperformed it.
Lowe’s recent performance is at odds with the improvements in the overall economy that should provide it a tailwind: Solid job growth has pushed the national unemployment rate down to its lowest level in a decade in April, property values are rising and mortgage rates remain relatively low.
Along with layoffs, to improve profitability, Lowe’s has been working to boost its offerings for its lucrative professional base, which includes customers such as contractors, who reliably and frequently place bigger orders than the average customer. Last month, for instance, the company purchased a Houston company called Maintenance Supply Headquarters for $512 million.