CONCORD, N.H. (CBS/AP) — Three Lowe’s stores in New Hampshire are among the 20 being closed nationally by the home-improvement retailer.

The stores are in Claremont, Hooksett and Manchester. The state Division of Economic Development says 277 workers in the three stores are affected.

In a statement, the CEO said, “Closing stores is never easy, given the impact on hard-working employees,” still he said it was “Necessary to improve profitability and strengthen our financial position.”

WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamanczyk reports

All day regular customers showed up hoping to shop. They found an empty store. Most customers said they were shocked by the decision.

State officials will be meeting with company representatives Tuesday to discuss Rapid Response services, which provides assistance to help displaced workers re-enter the workforce.

Former employees told WBZ-TV that they did receive severance packages of two to three months pay.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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