Another one bites the dust! Lowes leaving Canada!
As U.S. chain Lowe’s has announced that all of its locations in Canada will soon be combined under the RONA brand, one of the largest big-box hardware store brands in the nation is set to completely vanish from the Canadian retail landscape.
Under the RONA, Lowe’s, Réno-Dépôt, and Dick’s Lumber brand names, RONA Inc. will continue to manage and serve a network of over 450 corporate and affiliated dealer locations across Canada. All Lowe’s locations in Canada are still open and will go on providing Canadians with the best home improvement items, excellent service, and competitive prices in their local regions. For both DIY customers and contractors, Lowe’s stores in Canada will gradually transition to the RONA brand. In addition to continuing to honour warranties and gift cards provided by Lowe’s stores in Canada, all RONA inc. banners will continue to sell Lowe’s proprietary brands, offer clients enticing financing options.
READ MORE: Walmart slows down hiring while it ramps up automation
Back in February of 2023, Lowe’s, a US-based home improvement company, has sold its Canadian retail division to Sycamore Partners, a private equity group,
On December 10, 2007, Lowe’s launched its first three locations in Canada in Hamilton, Brampton, and Brantford. They added three new locations in Maple, East Gwillimbury, a second store in Brampton, and Toronto on February 1, 2008. (Vaughan).In Canada, Lowe’s had 62 stores as of 2018.
From Sears to Lowes, US Stores not doing great in Canada
Perhaps, it is not the US management that made mistakes, maybe it is just that Canada is not as profitable and lucrative any longer? Back in 2007 Canadian dollar believe it or not, many can remember the times, was stronger than US currency. This shift in North American financial world encouraged many US investors to open up stores and wide range of other retail businesses across Canada. Big names like Lowes, Target, Nordstrom, Sachs Fifth Avenue and many more rushed to cash in on the Canadian economy wave. Well, this wave has met the shore!
Big players started to pull the plug on Canada. Target, Sears, Zellers, Bed Bath & Beyond, Nordstrom and now Lowes decided that Canadian market has lost a solid business case and therefore not bringing in as much profit as they used to.
Newest economy stories like the ones from US and Swiss Bank crashes to McDonalds and Walmart layoffs show the economic downturn and biggest restructuring of corporations in history. It is not the bad economy that drives layoffs, it is not the cost of human workers that closes Canadian and US businesses. The real behemoth lurking behind the curtains is the future of manufacturing, retail, banking, management and many more industries. The word of today and the future is automation. Automation in form of AI and other software and hardware technology is currently dictating business survival and business processes.
READ MORE: McDonald’s shuts offices in US, will Canada be next?
Automation is currently being implemented in every corporation one might think of. At the moment all the companies that restructure their business strategies like Mcdonalds, Walmart and many Banks are introducing automation that replace and will replace human administration and labour force. It might sound like SciFi movie and high fetched conspiracy theory, but it is our reality.
In the case of Lowes, economy is the symptom why the upper management chose to sell and move out of Canada, but the reason why the symptoms are here is change in value of Canadian dollar, high cost of labour force (here one can debate if raising minimum wage is a good thing or not), world circumstances and high Canadian taxes and property prices and cost of rent.
Is this a good thing for Canada and Canadians. Everyone can draw the conclusion for them selves.