Home-improvement giant Lowe's said Friday that it planned to lay off "thousands" of workers in the United States, though it did not say exactly how many positions it would be eliminating, per a report from CBS News on Friday.
According to a Thursday report from The Wall StreetJournal, Lowe's told employees who assemble products like barbecue grills and wheelbarrows that they would be laid off. The company also gave a similar notice to janitors who work for the home-improvement giant, per The Wall Street Journal.
The company reportedly told workers that it planned to outsource those positions to third-party companies.
According to CBS News, a spokesperson for Lowe's said in a statement that the layoffs were part of a plan to keep workers on the warehouse floor. The spokesperson said that employees affected by the layoffs would be offered transition pay and would be offered open positions elsewhere in the company, though they would not be guaranteed the same pay found in their current roles.
As CBS News reported, the home-improvement chain has not been entirely immune to the struggles of other brick-and-mortar stores, as consumer shopping habits shift toward online shopping and away from physical retailers. In 2018, Lowe's announced the closure of 51 of its locations in the United States and Canada. It shuttered its Hardware chain, Orchard Hardware, last year, which it purchased in 2013 and had 99 locations in California, Oregon, and Florida, according to USA Today.
Still, as CNN reported, the home-improvement sector has been one of the only areas that has been able to remain somewhat strong against online retailer Amazon, and despite some store closures, the industry has not seen the same mass store closings other brick-and-mortar retailers have.According to CNN, Lowe's currently operates 1,700 stores in the U.S., and as of February of this year, employed some 190,000 full-time and 110,000 part-time workers. The company has been on an "ambitious turnaround plan," per CNN, since former JCPenney CEO Marvin Ellison joined the company last year.
Ellison has been attempting to transform the company to compete with another home-improvement store, The Home Depot, per CNN. According to The Home Depot's website, that company currently has 2,200 locations in North America.
On Twitter, reaction to the layoffs was largely negative, and some criticized the company's new CEO.
"It's all the new CEO, Marvin Ellison, and his greed," one user charged on Twitter.
Another Twitter user noted that employees seemingly took to social media website Reddit to discuss the layoffs.