Lowe's has told "thousands" of workers their jobs are being eliminated, The Wall Street Journal first reported, although a company spokesperson would not disclose specific numbers. Those affected include maintenance staff and workers who assemble retail products.
"We are moving to third-party assemblers and facility services to allow Lowe's store associates to spend more time on the sales floor serving customers," the spokesperson told Retail Dive in an email.
Affected associates will be given transition pay and the chance to apply for open positions at the retailer. The layoffs are limited to the retailer's United States workforce, the spokesperson added.
CEO Marvin Ellison, who's served as Lowe's chief for just over a year, has wasted no time in making big changes at the home improvement retailer.
Ellison has shaken up his team, shifting the responsibilities of the COO, chief customer officer, corporate administration executive and chief development officer to other senior executives. He has also moved to shutter underperforming stores in an attempt to reduce costs. Lowe's in November announced it would close 51 stores in North America on top of ceasing its Mexico operations. This came just months after it announced it would shutter all of its Orchard Supply Hardware stores.
In its most recent earnings, Lowe's reported that net sales increased 2.2% to $17.7 billion and comp sales increased 3.5%. The company posted net earnings of $1.05 billion.
Lowe's said that as of Feb. 1, it employed 190,000 full-time employees and 110,000 part-time employees, according to an SEC document filed earlier this year. The company operates more than 1,700 stores in the United States and nearly 280 stores in Canada.
Lowe's in April reportedly announced layoffs affecting 219 workers in its Charlotte and Wilkesboro, North Carolina, offices. This came just months before the home improvement retailer announced a new tech center in Charlotte, where the company said it hopes to hire up to 2,000 tech associates.
Outsourcing to third-party companies mirrors a recent move by Walmart. The retail giant last month indicated it was laying off 569 employees at a corporate office in Charlotte, North Carolina, with plans to outsource finance and accounting work to New York-based professional services firm Genpact.