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Lowe's will close on Easter Sunday to give workers a break

Lowe's will shut all its stores in the U.S. and Canada on Easter Sunday so the company's 300,000 employees can spend time with family, the home-improvement chain said Tuesday.

CEO Marvin Ellison said employees deserve Sunday off because their work during the coronavirus pandemic has been "nothing short of heroic." Employees will receive their regular pay if they would have worked that Sunday, Lowe's officials said. 

"We want to provide our teams with a much-deserved day off to spend Easter Sunday with their families and loved ones and recharge," Ellison said in a statement.

Lowe's has 2,200 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Lowe's joins a list of stores, including Aldi, BJ's, Costco, Publix, Sam's Club, Target and Trader Joe's, that will close on Easter Sunday. 

Lowe's has offered other modest sweeteners to reward people for working during the virus outbreak. Those include $300 bonuses for full-time employees and $150 for part-timers, along with a temporary $2 an hour raise. The company, which had $72 billion in sales last year, has also set aside $3 million for an employee emergency relief fund. 

The retail industry has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus as state and local governments order stores to close and consumers stay home. Household names like Apple, Ikea and Macy's have temporarily closed but kept their online stores open. Some industry analysts predict 15,000 stores will permanently close this year, eclipsing the 2019 record of more than 9,500 closures. 

Macy's, Kohl's, Gap to furlough thousands of workers as pandemic worsens

"We anticipate some of the retailers that recently announced temporary store closures — including some well-known names — will never reopen their doors," Deborah Weinswig and Vineeth Gangadharan of Coresight Research, which tracks retail industry trends, wrote in a report.

Department, clothing and home improvement stores like Lowe's and Home Depot could see the biggest hit from the coronavirus, Weinswig and Gangadharan said.

Home Depot, which hasn't said it will close on Easter, is also temporarily boosting worker pay. Employees who work more than 35 hours a week get an extra $100 and employees who work between 16 and 35 hours get an extra $50. Workers get twice their hourly pay for working overtime. 

Lowe's stock was trading at $92.47, up 4% from Tuesday's market open.

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