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Lowe’s to exit ‘under-performing, non-core’ home automation business by finding a buyer for its Iris Smart Home business.

Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison, in pursuing a buyer for the Lowe’s Iris home-automation business (shown here at CES 2018) says the company will no longer pursue ventures that dilute its return on capital.

Giant home improvement retailer Lowe’s is giving up on the smart home market. The company, which has more than 2,000 locations, recently announced plans to exit the home automation market and is seeking a buyer for its Iris Smart Home business as part of a “strategic reassessment.”

The announcement is part of multiple other maneuvers by Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW) that include closing its Orchard Supply Hardware business, selling its Alacrity Renovation Service and all its locations in Mexico, and shutting more than 50 locations in the U.S. and Canada.

Speaking to investors, president and CEO Marvin Ellison, noted, “Our top priority this quarter was taking the necessary steps to build a sustainable foundation to position Lowe’s long-term success, by exiting underperforming stores of non-core businesses. This will allow us to intensify our focus on our core retail business.”

“These actions send a clear message that we’ll no longer pursue ventures that dilute our return on capital.”

— Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s

All of these moves will cut $280 million in charges associated with leases, inventory and severance packages. Specifically, $14 million of the charges are related to the proposed sell off of both Iris and Alacrity. The company offered no details on Iris sales figures.

Overall, Lowe’s reported strong net earnings of $629 million for the quarter ended Nov. 2, 2018. Sales for the third quarter increased 3.8 percent to $17.4 billion over the third quarter of 2017, and comparable sales increased 1.5 percent.

“These were difficult decisions to make,” added Ellison. “These actions send a clear message that we’ll no longer pursue ventures that dilute our return on capital.”

He called any underperformance in Q3 a result of “poor execution, not a macro concern… We’re not chasing short-term fixes, but we have every expectation that our actions and initiatives will begin to drive improvements in our business as we enter 2019.”

Related: Lowe’s Innovation Labs Shows Future of Retail—Robots and Holograms

The dumping of Iris is quite a shift for Lowe’s, which back in 2015 wowed CES attendees with its Innovation Lab that featured loads of technology, including robots.

Back in 2013, CE Pro was impressed with the capabilities of Iris, which had launched the previous year at a $179 price point for thermostat control, smart plugs, etc. The $9.99/per month system controlled nearly 100 products via the Iris hub, which features ZigBeeZ-Wave and Wi-Fi. It also had a cellular module, along with control of cameras and door locks.

Lowe’s believes the quality of the Iris platform is strong and is committed to finding a buyer that will provide high quality service backing the product. A company spokesperson told CE Pro:

“We do not have timing or additional details to share at this time, and it remains business as usual. There are no changes to Lowe’s support of the brand, product or service as we search for a buyer. Offering customers smart home products is still an important way we serve their needs, and we will continue to carry Iris and other smart products on our shelves. However, we will focus on the retail side of the Iris business, not on supporting our own smart-home platform. The smart home category continues to be an important part of our customers’ home improvement journey, and Lowe’s remains committed to carrying the breadth and depth of smart home products and brands to meet our consumers’ needs now and in the future.”

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at jknott@ehpub.com