Lowe’s Companies, Inc. is an American chain of retail home improvement and appliance stores that has retail stores in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Founded in 1946 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, the chain now serves more than 14 million customers a week in its 1,714 stores in the United States and 31 in Canada. Expansion into Canada began in 2007, with the opening of a store in Hamilton, Ontario, in early 2008. Lowe’s started the construction of two stores in the Mexican city of Monterrey officially entering the Mexican market. In 2011 Lowe’s released plans to build over 150 stores in Australia over the next five years, hoping to compete with the $46 billion industry. Lowe’s Companies, Inc. is 43rd on the Fortune 500 list. As of 2010, the chain is based in Mooresville, North Carolina. Lowe’s is the second-largest hardware chain in the United States. Globally, Lowe’s is also the second-largest hardware chain.