bizlogo_lowes

U.S. big-box home improvement chain Lowe's announced Monday it will open its first store in Canada in 2007.

Lowe's Companies Inc. plans to open six to 10 stores in the Toronto market that year, which the retailer expects will create approximately 1,700 jobs. The company said its long-term plans include the potential for as many as 100 Lowe's stores in Canada.

"Extending our business into Canada is not only a logical expansion of our growth strategy, it's a tremendous opportunity to serve a vibrant, growing home improvement market," said Robert Niblock, chair, president and CEO of the Mooresville, N.C.-based company, in a release.

Lowe's will establish an office in the Toronto area later this year. Doug Robinson has been named president of the Canada operations.

The expansion – the company's first move outside of the U.S. – will put it up against other big-box home improvement chains, including Rona and Home Depot.

Lowe's has over 1,100 stores in 48 states.

In the wake of the announcement, shares of Boucherville, Que. based Rona dropped more than 7 per cent, falling $1.83 to $23.85 on the TSX.