Ten locations were closed Sunday; the other 10 will close in a month. Before the closures Lowe's operated 1,725 stores.
Lowe's, based in Mooresville, N.C., also says it will only open 10 to 15 stores in North America annually beginning in 2012.
Previously, the company said it expected to open 30 stores per year. It will open 25 stores this year. Lowe's says the moves will cost it 17 cents to 20 cents per share in 2011.
In August, Lowe's said volatile weather and shoppers' worries about the economy hurt demand. Its net income was nearly flat in the second quarter and the company lowered its yearly sales forecast.
Stores to be closed include: