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Lowe's to lay off thousands of workers

Lowe's layoffs and other MoneyWatch headlines

Lowe's confirmed a report saying that it is laying off thousands of workers, though the home-improvement company declined to specify how many employees will be dismissed.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the retailer this week told workers who assemble products like barbecue grills and wheelbarrows, as well as janitors, that their jobs will be eliminated and outsourced to third-party vendors.

A spokeswoman for the Mooresville, North Carolina-based company said in an emailed statement that the move will allow store workers to "spend more time on the sales floor serving customers."

She added that workers in affected positions will be given transition pay and the opportunity to apply for open roles in the company. But the WSJ reported employees will not be guaranteed the same hourly pay.

The job cuts will affect employees across the retailer's 1,725 U.S. stores. As of February, the company had about 300,000 full- and part-time workers.

Lowe's move comes as many brick-and-mortar retailers are shutting stores and cutting labor costs in order to better compete with online businesses. Lowe's last year announced closures at 51 underperforming U.S. and Canada stores. It also closed its Orchard Supply Hardware chain, which it purchased in 2013 for $205 million.

Lowe's stock price fell 1.9% on Thursday to close at $99.49.

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