Lowe's Plans Aggressive Canadian Store Expansion

  Rendering of the new Sault Ste. Marie Store. Photo: Lowe's. 

Rendering of the new Sault Ste. Marie Store. Photo: Lowe's. 

American home improvement and appliance retailer Lowe's plans to substantially expand its Canadian store base. The company just announced three new locations, adding to its current 37 Canadian stores. We interviewed Lowe's Canadian president, who tells us that the retailer could as much as triple its current Canadian store count. 

Last week Lowe's announced that it was opening three new Canadian locations, each offering more than 40,000 in-stock products. Locations include: 

Lethbridge, Alberta - 3849 Mayor Magrath Drive South: In the spring of 2015 a 94,500 square foot location will feature an adjacent 19,500 square foot garden centre. The store will cost over $24 million to build. 

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - 125 Betts Avenue: In the summer of 2015 an 86,000 square foot location will feature an adjacent 15,500 square foot garden centre. The store will cost over $20 million to build. 

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario - 248 Northern Avenue: In the summer of 2015, a 75,000 square foot location will feature an adjacent 4,400 square foot permanent garden centre and a 6,300 square foot seasonal pop-up garden centre. The store will cost over $7 million to build. 

Each of these three stores will create between 120 and 140 jobs, as well as an additional 40 to 50 seasonal positions. 

  Under construction: Lowe's new Saskatoon location. Photo: Lowe's.

Under construction: Lowe's new Saskatoon location. Photo: Lowe's.

“We are thrilled to be growing our presence in Canada and are always evaluating new opportunities to bring Lowe’s closer to our customers,” said Sylvain Prud‘homme, President, Lowe’s Canada. “These three new stores support our ongoing strategy to be the home improvement choice for Canadians and we see tremendous opportunity in these new markets for us.”

We interviewed Mr. Prud‘homme, asking him specifically about Lowe's future plans for Canada. He tells us that the retailer's goal is to ultimately operate between 100 and 120 Canadian locations, up from its current 37 stores. More new store locations will be announced shortly. Desired store sizes are generally in the 84,000-110,000 square foot range and while some of its stores are free-standing newly-built locations, some will replace other large-format retailers in a variety of locations. Its Sault Ste. Marie location, for example, is a 'brownfield store' replacing a former Zellers location in a local strip mall. Although Lowe's typically locates in the suburbs, it is in the process of opening two Manhattan locations. At the moment there are no plans to open downtown Canadian locations, though this could change if the right opportunities become available. 

Last week, the retalier launched Lowe’s Holoroom in its North Etobicoke and Burlington stores -- a first of its kind, home improvement simulator that applies 3-D and augmented reality technologies to provide home owners with an intuitive, immersive experience of their room renovation projects. The video above explains the concept. 

Lowe's was founded in 1946 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. It has over 1,835 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico. It serves about 15 million customers a week and its fiscal 2013 sales were U.S. $53.4 billion and it employs about 260,000. Lowe's is the world's second-largest hardware chain, behind Atlanta-based The Home Depot

Lowe's first Canadian locations opened in southern Ontario in December of 2007. All of the retailer's Canadian stores are currently located in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, employing over 6,000. 

We'll update you when Lowe's announces more details on its substantial Canadian store expansion. 

Today's Retail News From Around The Web: December 1, 2014