Lowe’s Seeking Buyer for Iris Smart Home Business
The Iris Smart Home platform features the usual home automation components: a smart hub, contact sensors, motion sensors, smart bulbs, WiFi camera integrations and more.
MOORESVILLE, N.C. – This time last year, Lowe’s went all in on the smart home experience, expanding its connected-home shopping experience to dozens of stores nationwide. However, it looks like it will be dumping its own smart home business, Iris.
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, shutting down 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.”
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% to $17.4 billion over the third quarter of 2017, and comparable sales increased 1.5%.
“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.”
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.
Iris launched in 2012 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 ZigBee, Z-Wave and WiFi. 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 SSI sister publication 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.”
This article first appeared on SSI sister publication CE Pro.
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