Home-improvement giant Lowe's is outsourcing work at a Charleston distribution center in a move that's expected to eliminate 80 jobs from the retailer's payroll.
The warehouse on Charleston Regional Parkway, off Clements Ferry Road in Berkeley County, is what the chain called a "cross dock terminal" where appliances are staged and prepared for delivery.
The work is being turned over to a third-party operator by mid-February "to drive efficiencies in our delivery network and improve service to customers," spokeswoman Maureen Wallace said in a written statement.
"We are working to transition impacted associates to roles at nearby Lowe’s stores and are coordinating with our third-party providers to offer impacted associates the chance to apply for jobs," she said.
The Mooresville, N.C.-based based chain notified the state Department of Employment and Workforce's Dislocated Worker Unit and local elected officials about the job losses in a letter earlier this month.
The warehouse will remain open, a Lowe's spokesman said this week. The transition is expected to be finalized by March 25, according to the notice.
Lowe's has been selling tools, lumber, gardening supplies and other home-improvement merchandise in the Lowcountry for decades.
The company opened its fifth location in the region about a year ago in Mount Pleasant, where arch-rival Home Depot plans to open by late February on the site of the old Laing Middle School.
In November, the company announced plans to shutter 51 underperforming locations across the U.S. and Canada by Feb. 1 "to focus on its most profitable stores and improve the overall health of its store portfolio." None of them is in South Carolina.
"We suspect the 51 stores being closed are losing money, are being cannibalized by other Lowe's stores, or face heightened competition by Home Depot and others," a Wells Fargo analyst wrote in a note to investors shortly after the announcement.
Last summer, the chain decided to shut down Orchard Supply Hardware, a 99-store chain that it bought in 2013 for $205 million.
Both cost-cutting measures were announced after an activist hedge fund disclosed that it had acquired a stake in Lowe’s and was chafing about the company's financial performance compared to its competitors.
In May, the retailer named a new CEO, Marvin Ellison, who had spent more than 12 years at Home Depot before running J.C. Penney for about three years.