Lowe’s closings impact Lake County; McHenry County spared

By Gregory Harutunian for Chronicle Media

The Lowe’s store located 773 S. Grand Avenue in Gurnee is one of two Lowe’s locations closing in Illinois. (Photo by Gregory Harutunian/for Chronicle Media)

In a revenue-adjustment move, Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s companies Inc. announced the impending closure of 47 retail stores throughout the United States and Canada for “underperforming” in the specific market area.

The Nov. 5 statement includes the Gurnee location in Lake County for eventual elimination, while the Lake In The Hills site in McHenry County will continue its normal operations.

Another Illinois store in Granite City is also among the 20 stores in the United States targeted for closure. The strategy comes in the wake of attempts to compete with online shopping outlets, such as Amazon, and maintain a pace with its main competitor, Home Depot. Lowe’s is “a home improvement chain for appliances, gardening supplies, tools, and more,” according to its website. It also does business with construction contractors, and offers truck rentals.

“The closure of 47 stores in the U.S. and Canada is part of a small number that are ‘underperforming’ in a particular market area, so that we can focus on a healthier portfolio,” said Steve Salazar, the company’s communications spokesperson. “We have nearly 2,300 stores across North America. We will work to complete these closures by the end of January, focusing on a smooth transition for our customers and associates.

“We expect to retain most of our U.S. associates through transitions to a similar role at a nearby Lowe’s store,” he said. “With respect to the Gurnee closure, we are making every effort to return employees, and expedite their return, with transitioning to a nearby location in their same capacity. We support our associates and our customers.”

Salazar said that the liquidation of store inventory began Nov. 8, and is expected to continue for the next nine to 12 weeks, dependent on the amount of remaining items, although there is a hard date for full closure of Jan. 31.

Other nearby Lowe’s stores unaffected by the restructuring consist of another Lake County location at 1660 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Vernon Hills, and at 300 N. Randall Road in McHenry County. Additional proximal locations included two stores in Northbrook, a store in Arlington Heights, and one in Kenosha, across the Illinois-Wisconsin border.

The Gurnee location at 773 S. Grand Avenue fronts the intersection of the Rollins Road and Grand Avenue bypass and hoped to capitalize on the traffic pattern. The municipality will lose its share of the retailer’s occupation tax revenues generated from the store, along with service occupation taxes.

“We have no plans going forward about liquidation of the parcel site itself,” Salazar said. “We have no details on that aspect yet. Right now, we are concentrating on our employee associates.”

Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison was brought into the company fold, near the start of the year, seeking to capitalize on his expertise as a former lead executive with Home Depot, and CEO with JC Penney. His business model adapts to spotlighting the base of construction companies and professional builders by offering more discounts on high-end equipment and tools.

“While decisions that impact our associates are never easy, the store closures are a necessary step in our strategic reassessment as we focus on building a stronger business,” said Elllison, in a prepared statement. “We believe our people are the foundation of our business and essential to our future growth, and we are making every effort to transition impacted associates to nearby Lowe’s stores.”

Gurnee store managers did not respond to requests for comment, and referred any inquiries to its corporate headquarters.