UPDATE: Lowe's COO Announces Retirement After Major Layoffs

Lowe's Cos. says Larry Stone is retiring as president and chief operating officer of the nation's second-largest home improvement chain.

Lowe's said Friday that it doesn't plan to fill the posts after Stone leaves June 2.

The move comes three days after the company announced plans to lay off about 1,700 middle managers nationwide and add thousands of hourly, part-time weekend sales staff.

Stone will leave Lowe's on his 42nd anniversary with the company. He has served in virtually every leadership position in store operations, merchandising and store environment.

Shares of Lowe's fell 94 cents, or about 3.6 percent, to $25.30 in afternoon trading.

Lowe's, based in Mooresville, N.C., has more than 1,725 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

-PREVIOUS STORY (1/25/11)-
Lowe's Cos, the nation's No. 2 home-improvement chain, is laying off about 1,700 middle managers nationwide and adding thousands of hourly, part-time sales staff on weekends.

Spokeswoman Chris Ahearn said Tuesday that the company redefined hundreds of middle-management jobs and will eliminate those between assistant store manager and store manager on Saturday.

The company will start taking applications next week to fill the 8,000 to 10,000 new positions, to be spread evenly among Lowe's 1,725 stores. Ahearn said the changes will give the company the staff in needs to help its customers when they shop the most -- weekends.

About 20 percent of stores will not lose staff. Lowe's has about 238,000 employees, with four to six managers at each store.

Ahearn declined further comment, citing Lowe's upcoming earnings report.

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