Richmond Rona to remain open as parent company shutters 31 Canadian stores

The Rona in New Westminster will close, though.

Richmond’s Rona store will stay open for business, but the nearby New Westminster location is one of the 31 Canadian stores parent company Lowe’s said will close in an announcement Monday.

Lowe’s Companies Inc. is shuttering 31 properties in Canada and 20 more in the U.S. in a bid to streamline its business.

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Sylvain Prud'homme, chief executive of Lowe's Canada, did not say how many employees would be affected by the closures, but said the changes will allow the company to improve collaboration between its banners to better serve customers.

“Everything will be done to ensure a smooth transition until the stores are closed, and Lowe's Canada will support impacted employees, including by transferring eligible employees to other locations within our network whenever possible,” Prud'homme said in a statement.

New Westminster Rona is the only property in B.C. that’s closing. So far, it looks like the Rona location near the Richmond Oval and the Lowe’s in New Westminster’s Queensborough neighbourhood won’t be affected.

The Canadian closures amount to a reduction of about three per cent of the brand's total retail network square footage.

The company currently has 68 Lowe's and 430 Rona stores in the country - part of its network of 2,390 home improvement locations across North America, including Reno-Depot, Dick's Lumber, Contractor First and Ace locations it also owns.

Lowe's Canadian business is based in Boucherville, Que. and has more than 630 corporate and independent affiliate dealer stores.

David Soberman, a University of Toronto professor specializing in marketing and retail, told the Canadian Press Lowe's 2016 acquisition of Rona Inc. in a deal valued at $3.2 billion. has likely fuelled some of the Canadian cuts.

“They probably had too many locations,” he said. “Now, this will mean people will have to drive a bit further to find a Lowe's or a Rona store.”

He said the company has also been facing fierce competition from fellow home improvement businesses Home Depot Inc. and Canadian Tire Inc. and to some extent, Costco Wholesale Corp. and Walmart Inc., which are “extremely powerful” and stock some home and garden products.

E-commerce giants including Amazon Inc. have also posed a threat because of their efficiency, but Soberman said their impact on Lowe's is limited because many construction and do-it-yourself products are bulky, heavy and cost more to ship - “not things that are suited to online retail.”

With files from the Canadian Press

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