Lowes Companies Buys ATG Stores Including LightingUniversecom

As of last month, Lighting Universe has closed all of its seven stores in the Pacific Northwest. The company is now solely an online retailer.  Lowes is a great partner and Im really excited to be working with them, Rubens states. Theyre allowing us to do what we do best. The [alliance] allows us to learn new disciplines and technologies. In turn, Lowes is open to learning from us about Internet [retailing].

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ATG Stores will remain an independent, wholly owned subsidiary of Lowes Companies, Inc. The two organizations will maintain separate branding and independent assortment planning and merchandising. All ATG jobs will remain in Kirkland, and no jobs will be lost as a result of the acquisition.

Lowes commitment to consumers, innovation, and long-term strategy, combined with our unique online product offering, presents a long-term opportunity for ATG Stores and Lowes to grow in the multichannel space, adds Gary Rubens, CEO of ATG Stores.

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According to Rubens, Lowes and Lighting Universe will be kept separate for the most part. We dont see any moderate changes at this time, he comments. Lowes is investing heavily in technology and sees us aligned with their goals. Lowes is not mandating that we do anything differently.

Kick-starting  2012 with a big announcement is Lowes Companies Inc. , which has acquired ATG Stores, a leading online retailer of home improvement and lifestyle products including lighting products through Lighting Universe  based in Kirkland, Washington.

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With this new synergy, both companies will be able to share their resources. There will probably be brands that will want to spread their wings, Rubens notes of the possible opportunities between the two companies.  Lowes provides its customers with an endless aisle of products, he says. If consumers do not find what theyre looking for in a Lowes retail store, they can enjoy greater access to brands online through the Web site and, potentially, this new partnership.

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I dont think Lighting Universe customers will notice any differences in the upcoming weeks or months, Rubens remarks. Any changes will be slow. Were going to be methodical to make sure any changes will be positive for the consumer. We feel that Lowes is a great fit.

Too funny, are they counting the products that are the same offerings on those 500 web sites as the 3.5 million? Does it count if you sell the same item on 500 different websites all selling the same things just with different URLs? So much for Googles duplicate product rule. Seems the rule doesnt apply to ATG.

ATG was founded in 1999 with the launch of its first Web site: .  Since then, ATG has grown to more than 500 Web sites, featuring 18 growing category divisions, offering 3.5 million products from more than 3,300 name brand manufacturers.

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The acquisition allows Lowes and ATG Stores to capitalize on complementary strengths and their employees extensive expertise by sharing best practices for online marketing and merchandising. By utilizing ATG Stores broad assortment of products and its strong online retailing operation, Lowes aims to deliver a better customer experience.

There are no plans to expand Lowes in-store selection of lighting right now, Rubens affirms. They already have a Special Order program and there could be additional opportunities there in the future. At this point, there are no plans to share consumer credit card programs or installation services.

The addition of ATG Stores is a strategic fit, providing more opportunities for Lowes to be a relevant partner at every stage of the home improvement process and deliver better customer experiences from inspiration to planning to enjoyment, says Robert A. Niblock, Lowes chairman, president, and CEO. ATG Stores is an extension of Lowes commitment to providing consumers with flexibility, simplicity, and value whenever and wherever they choose to shop.

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With fiscal year 2010 sales of $48.8 billion, Lowes Companies, Inc. is a FORTUNE 50 company that serves approximately 15 million customers a week at more than 1,725 home improvement stores in the U.S. , Canada, and Mexico.

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