Lowe’s to enter Canada with 3 retail stores

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Mooresville, N.C.– America's second-largest home improvement retailer is eager to debut north of the border, but admits its plans to open its first Canadian stores are about a month behind schedule.

Lowe's Cos. said yesterday it would open its first three stores – all in southern Ontario – the week of Dec. 10, normally a slow period for home improvement retailers. The Ontario stores are in Brantford, Hamilton and Brampton.

In a statement, the Mooresville, chain also said it would open a store in Toronto in January.

The company's entry into Canada's $39.4 billion a year home improvement market will create new opportunities for consumers and raise the stakes for entrenched players.

Each store will create up to 175 local jobs and represent an average investment of more than $18.5 million. Lowe's announced in 2005 its intentions to open six to 10 stores initially in the greater Toronto area.

The company, which hopes to eventually open 100 Canadian stores, also talked for the first time about making Western Canada its next regional target.

"Lowe's Toronto management team has been working hard for nearly two years to open the first of many stores we plan for Canada," says Don Stallings, an American who was named president of Lowe's Canada last month.

"These first openings illustrate our steadfast focus on delivering an outstanding shopping experience, including the best prices, products and service to our new Canadian customers," he added.

Lowe's operates more than 1,425 stores in 49 states.

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