Lowe’s cuts store jobs as it seeks to outsource workers

The company says it is allowing store associates to spend more time on the sales floor.

By Sarah Skidmore Sell / Associated Press

Lowe’s Cos. is laying off thousands of employees at its U.S. stores as it outsources some of their duties to outside companies.

The home-improvement chain, based in Mooresville, North Carolina, declined to say exactly how many employees were affected. But The Wall Street Journal reported that thousands of employees were told this week that their jobs were eliminated, which the company confirmed.

Lowe’s spokeswoman Jackie Pardini Hartzell said Thursday that the cuts are coming as the company moves to third-party assemblers and facility services to allow store associates to spend more time on the sales floor serving customers. Previously some store workers did assembly work, such a constructing floor models, and janitorial work. Hartzell said that employees in these positions will have the opportunity to apply for other open roles at Lowe’s.

She said the company is not disclosing how many are affected as the number of employees impacted varies by store and the company has a strong track record of retaining associates in other roles within the company.

Lowe’s, under its relatively new CEO Marvin Ellison, is trying to return its focus to its home improvement chain and streamline its business.

After Ellison took the reins last year, he thinned executive positions at the company and began paring away weaker selling items in its stores. Lowe’s also sold announced last summer that it was closing the 99 Orchard Supply Hardware stores it owns in California, Florida and Oregon. And it wants to bolster its business with professionals, something that has been Home Depot’s forte.

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