Hardware store RONA announced a major restructuring late Thursday afternoon.

This change resulted in the abolition of 500 positions within the RONA network in Canada, including 200 at the head office. The rest of the cuts are distributed in the 60 corporate stores such as RONA L’ Entrepot and Réno-Dépôt, according to our information.

The head office remains in Boucherville, the company took the trouble to specify in a press release.

The abolitions correspond to approximately 15% of the workforce directly employed by Rona either at the head office or in the company stores.

It is unclear whether any stores will be closed in the process. Rona was not giving an interview Thursday night.

According to Richard Darveau, president of the Quebec Hardware and Building Materials Association, Rona is carrying out a necessary degreasing after the good years of the pandemic. “May hardware store sales numbers are on par with 2019, but lower than May 2020, 2021 or May 2022 sales,” he said in an interview late Thursday.

One might think that hardware stores are suffering from the rise in interest rates which is curbing the ardor of DIY enthusiasts.

“In light of the current economic downturn, RONA, like other organizations that have recently announced restructurings, had to adapt to reflect new market realities,” the retailer said in a statement. The goal is to simplify activities.

Rona operates or serves 425 company or affiliated stores under the Lowe’s, RONA, Réno-Dépôt and Dick’s Lumber banners.

Last November, the American Lowe’s sold its Canadian activities (Rona, Réno-Dépôt, Dick’s Lumber, etc.) to a New York investment firm for 400 million US and a sum based on performance. Sycamore Partners, a firm specializing in retail, consumer and distribution, has a reputation for partnering with management teams to improve the profitability and value of their business.

Lowe’s had previously paid US$2.3 billion in 2016 (C$3.2 billion at the then exchange rate) to buy Rona.