This week, Lowe's announced it would close all Orchard Supply Hardware stores nationwide by Feb. 1. Lowe's is closing the stores to focus on its core home improvement business, the company said. USA Today reports employees were told about the decision Tuesday. Lowe's acquired Orchard Supply Hardware in 2013 out of bankruptcy. The brand had been spun off from Sears Holdings in 2011.
"While it was a necessary business decision to exit Orchard Supply Hardware, decisions that impact our people are never easy," Lowe's president and CEO Marvin Ellison said in a statement to the press. "We will be providing outplacement services for impacted associates, and they will be given priority status if they choose to apply for other Lowe's positions."
Total Retail's Take: Ellison, former CEO of J.C Penney, has already started making some serious changes in his short time on the job. Apparently Orchard Supply didn't fit into the company's future plans. While Orchard Supply was a small piece of Lowe's overall organization, the 99-store retail chain did have a loyal customer base. With this cost-cutting move, Lowe's will be looking to convert Orchard Supply customers into Lowe's customers and, perhaps most importantly, steer them away from competitors such as Home Depot and Ace Hardware.