Wilkesboro, N.C. – Locally based Lowe’s Cos. plans to open 103 new home-improvement stores in 2001. Of these, 12 will be relocations of its smaller-format stores to big-box locations. Lowe’s also said it will close five to seven under-performing stores this year.

Lowe’s 2001 expansion plans are roughly on pace with last year. In 2000, Lowe’s opened 100 new stores, 20 of which were relocations. The company will support its expansion by opening a new general distribution center (dc) in Paris, Calif., later this month and another dc in Finley, Ohio, later this year. Lowe’s expects to open one new general dc a year during the next few years.