TORONTO, June 27 Rona Inc, Canada's top
home-improvement retailer and distributor, will close stores,
cut jobs and reduce costs in the second phase of a restructuring
plan designed to return it to profitability, the company said on
Rona said it plans to close 11 unprofitable stores; reduce
administrative, marketing, merchandising and distribution
expenses; and cut a further 125 administrative jobs.
The job cuts are on top of the 200 that Rona announced in
February, when it also outlined plans to expand its distribution
business and scale back its big-box store strategy outside the
province of Quebec.
Rona hopes the new strategy will help it counter the threat
from U.S. competitors Home Depot Inc and Lowe's Cos Inc
Rona transformed itself from a modest Quebec hardware
distributor to a national retailer in the 1990s, making a string
of acquisitions as big-box home-improvement retailers like Home
Depot arrived in Canada. But its sales have languished since the
2008-09 recession and Rona has struggled.
The company, which rebuffed an unsolicited C$1.8 billion
($1.72 billion) takeover proposal from Lowe's last August, has
come under intense investor pressure due to its weak results. It
reacted by shuffling its board in January and promised drastic
moves to improve performance.