Lowe’s seeks addition by subtraction

On the eve of the company’s second-quarter earnings announcement, Lowe’s closed seven underperforming stores. 

Shuttered are locations in Meriden, Conn.; Riverdale, Ga.; Elgin and Schaumburg, Ill.; Kenai, Alaska.; Cambridge, Minn.; and Ticonderoga N.Y.

Obviously, the move upset the affected communities. For instance, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski complained of the lack of notice. But CEO Robert Niblock is paid to make tough decisions, which is how he described the seven closings.

“It was a fiscally responsible decision to further strengthen our financial position and drive shareholder value,” Niblock told analysts, the day after employees were informed.

Responding to a request to elaborate, Niblock said the slower-than-expected economic recovery factored into the decision. “We didn’t think there was enough opportunity in those markets to get those stores operating at the level that we need to,” he said.

Lowe’s opened two new stores in the quarter ended July 29, bringing its total count as of that time to 1,753 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico.