Lowe's is investing $500 million annually between now and 2021 to transform the technological makeup of its business. The home-improvement retailer announced in a company blog post that it plans to hire up to 2,000 tech associates in its new 357,000-square-foot global technology center.
The new tech center, located at 100 W. Worthington Ave., just south of uptown Charlotte, will help the companies build a better retail experience and modernize its IT, the company said in its post.
To pull off its tech revamp, the company is hiring software and infrastructure engineers, data scientists, analysts, architects, user experience and user interface professionals, and artificial intelligence and machine learning engineers. The company plans to hire the first 400 tech employees in the next year. Though the company has already had a relationship with North Carolina, it aims to tap into the city's emerging tech sector, per its statement.
Perhaps Lowe's Marvin Ellison was foreshadowing the company's infrastructure investment when in January, he said, "It starts with retail fundamentals first. As the old saying goes: you can't put the icing before the cake … we've been serving a lot of icing lately."
To the company's credit, its retail fundamentals enabled it to weather the rain that dampened first quarter earnings for many. However, the company's Canadian operations, and its decision to leave the Mexico and Orchard Supply businesses behind contributed to its less-than-stellar results in the prior quarter's sales results.
The decision to hire more tech workers comes after the company has made other shake-ups over the last couple of years, including slashing 2,400 jobs in 2017, eliminating and adding various C-Suite positions in 2018 and extending its Holoroom customer education program into an employee training tool in 2018. Improving its technological infrastructure will be important as competitors like Amazon continue to grow their home improvement sales.
The move also comes at a time when other retail giants are ramping up their own tech investments. In an effort to build out its tech talent pool, Walmart Labs, the retailer's tech-focused subsidiary, earlier this month hosted an event through its "Returnships" program for potential candidates interested in returning to the workforce.