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Lowes to close big-box store in Portage

Lowes will close its store in Portage.

Lowe's plans to close its big-box home improvement store at 6221 U.S. 6 in Portage.

The North Carolina-based home improvement retailer said it will close 20 stores in the United States and 31 in Canada that were underperforming, including the one by the Portage IMAX and Portage High School on U.S. 6.

Lowe's plans to close most of the stores by Feb. 1, but said some U.S. locations will close immediately. An employee at the Portage store said that it would remain open through January for a liquidation sale.

“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 Lowe's President and CEO Marvin Ellison. “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.”

The company said on its website the liquidation sale would start on Tuesday, and that customers could still use gift cards, return items purchased prior to then and pick up online orders there. Military veterans can continue to take advantage of a 10 percent discount there throughout the liquidation.

A competitor of Home Depot and Menards, the Fortune 50 retailer described the 51 store closures as "part of its ongoing strategic reassessment" that will allow it to "focus on its most profitable stores and improve the overall health of its store portfolio."

Lowe's, which employs more than 310,000 people across North American and serves more than 18 million customers a week, will still have stores in Schererville, Merrillville and Michigan City.

As traditional brick-and-mortar retailers struggle with online competition, Lowe's is one of many big box companies to close stores in the Region in recent years, including Carson's, Sears, Kmart, Sports Authority, MC Sports and HH Gregg.

NWI Business Ins and Outs

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.