MONTREAL -- Lowe's Canada announced Wednesday it is closing 34 stores across the country “to improve performance and better position itself for the future.”

The company says it is closing specific stores that are underperforming.

The stores include 26 Ronas, six Lowe's and two Réno-Dépôts spread across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

"While making decisions that impact our associates and their families is never easy, closing underperforming stores is a necessary step in our plan to ensure the long-term stability and growth of our Canadian business," said Tony Cioffi, interim president of Lowe's Canada.

"We are taking decisive action to build a healthy business, which will provide us with the flexibility to reinvest in our future growth."

He says the restructuring also includes investment in its supply chain capabilities, web platforms, existing corporate stores and affiliated dealer networks.

Lowe’s Canada adds employees losing their jobs will be “supported throughout the transition” and some may be able to transfer to another location.

It did not say how many staff would be affected by the latest round of closures, which will see stores closing in January and February.

"We haven't found any [deal between Lowe's and Quebec to protect jobs] so we'll look if there's something with the federal government, but we have no guarantee from Lowe's," Premier François Legault said.

Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said he will be reviewing the letter of commitment from Lowe’s stating its plan for both Quebec and Canada. The letter, written in 2016, is stated over a period of three and five years.

“My assessment is that Lowe’s respected that agreement,” he said, noting he will contact his federal counterpart to confirm the information.

“This agreement is on a page-and-a-half. The commitment on that page is kind of soft, but nevertheless, there’s ink on that paper and it’s our job to make sure Lowe’s respects the commitment.”

Fitzgibbon says he also plans to speak with representatives from Lowe’s to find out if there are any other cuts planned.

“My only concern today is employees that will be losing their jobs, and the supply chain,” he said.

Twelve of the stores that are closing are in Quebec as of Jan. 31, 2020:

  • RONA Granby (316 Denison Street Est, Granby)
  • RONA Sorel (1293 des Patriotes Road, Sorel-Tracy)
  • RONA Bécancour (3365 Bécancour Boulevard, Bécancour)
  • RONA Nicolet (2145 Louis-Fréchette Boulevard, Nicolet)
  • RONA Saint-Tite (700 Notre-Dame Street, Saint-Tite)
  • RONA Trois-Rivières (15 Philippe-Francoeur Street, Trois-Rivières)
  • RONA Saint-Félix-de-Valois (3110 Henri-L. Chevrette Street, Saint-Félix-de-Valois)
  • RONA Carignan (2395 de Chambly Road, Carignan)
  • RONA Saint-Lambert (707 Saint-Charles Street, Saint- Lambert)
  • RONA Saint-Sauveur (180 Principale Street, Saint-Sauveur)
  • RONA Bellefeuille-Saint-Jérôme (905 de la Salette Boulevard, Saint-Jérôme)
  • Réno-Dépôt Trois-Rivières (4575 des Forges Boulevard, Trois-Rivières)

North Carolina-based Lowe's bought Rona in 2016 in a deal valued at $3.2 billion.

In Canada, the company has more than 28,000 employees, while its independent affiliate dealers operating under the Rona and Ace name have another 5,000 employees.

The Canadian division of Lowe's has more than 600 corporate and independent affiliate stores under the Lowe's, Rona, Réno-Dépôt, Ace and Dick's Lumber brands.

-- with additional reporting by The Canadian Press.