Lowe's laying off 2,000, closing 20 stores, canceling new ones

Lowe's Companies, having apparently given up on hopes of a rapid recovery for US consumers, has "discontinued" plans for dozens of new stores. The North Carolina-based construction and home supply chain says it will only open 10-15 new stores a year in the forseeable future, not the 30 a year it previously projected.

It's not that Lowe's doesn't have the money. The company is spending $5 billion buying back its own stock to prop up share prices, notes Gimme Credit analyst Carol Levenson. It's that Lowe's believes the "slump" won't end soon, she adds.

The North Carolina-based chain also says it's laying off around 1,950 workers at 20 "underperforming" stores it plans to close, mostly in New England and the Midwest. The closest to Philly is in Old Bridge, NJ. List and statement here.

"We have an obligation to make tough decisions when necessary to improve profitability and strengthen our financial position," said chairman Robert A. Niblock in the statement.

Lowe's, a smaller rival of Home Depot, claims $49 billion in yearly sales at its 1,725 North American stores, which include 25 new this year.