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Lowe's closing 20 stores, cutting 1,950 jobs

The stores are underperforming locations in 15 states, Lowe's said.

Lowes closing 2011 10 17Enlarge
A customer comes out of a Lowe's store in Alexandria, Va., on Oct. 17, 2011. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Lowe’s Cos. is closing 20 stores and slashing 1,950 jobs, The Associated Press reports. Lowe’s said employees will receive pay and benefits for 60 to 90 days, the Naperville Sun reports.

The stores are underperforming locations in 15 states, including Illinois, New Hampshire, California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York and Maine, Marketwatch reports. The stores are in the “ex-urban locations hit worst by the implosion in housing markets from 2007 to 2010,” Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analyst David Schick told Marketwatch.

Lowe’s posted nearly flat net income in the second quarter, the AP reports. In August, the company said that the sluggish economy was prompting do-it-yourselfers to stick to smaller-ticket repair and maintenance projects costing less than $500, Marketwatch reports.

Lowe’s also announced that it would open about half as many new stores in North America annually as it previously planned, beginning in 2012, the AP reports. It will open 25 stores this year, and only 10 to 15 stores in 2012 and beyond.

“This continues the progress toward becoming a more efficient operator,” Janney Capital Markets analyst David Strasser told Marketwatch. “Management is making significant changes that should improve returns.”

Lowe’s shuttered 10 stores overnight, including in Oswego, Ill., and Aurora, Ill., the Naperville Sun reports.

“I was just here yesterday to look at snowblowers and I came back today to buy one,” shopper Roxie Riforgiate told the Naperville Sun on Monday in front of the locked and sign-less Aurora store. “It was the perfect location and a beautiful store. It just makes you a little more insecure about the economy and the times.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/111017/lowes-closing-stores-cutting-jobs-home-improvement