Sad end for Sears as retailer gets set to shutter stores and sell off stock
Sears Canada hasn't turned a profit in many years and despite efforts to turn things around, the company announced on Tuesday that it is seeking court approval to liquidate its remaining stores and assets.
The retailer began operating under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act and closed 59 stores in June after efforts to find a buyer that would allow it to continue operations failed.
Almost 3000 employees were let go and a few months later, 11 more stores followed suit leaving another 1000 workers without jobs.
A court in Ontario is expected to hear Sears’ motion on Friday and if approved, the company’s remaining stores will be shuttered by next year.
"The company deeply regrets this pending outcome and the resulting loss of jobs and store closures," Sears Canada said in a statement on Tuesday.
Company spokesperson, Joel Shaffer, says there are 74 full department store locations, eight Sears Home Stores and roughly 49 Sears Hometown stores that are facing closure.
The Canadian retailer currently employs about 12,000 people, which does not include the jobs that were cut in June.
Experts say sales stalled because the company stayed in the middle in a changing market place.
“The Sears’ business model relied on that high touch and that high relationship for a long, long while so they didn’t move or they didn’t move quickly enough to translate what was special about them into this context, which is a sales environment where people shop, people compare and people can get good quality for the amount they have to spend,” said Patti Derbyshire, Chair, Entrepreneurship, Marketing & Social Innovation at Mount Royal University. “If you’re really after that high quality, special item, you’re going to those up-scale retailers and if you’re a mainstay, which Sears had been for a while, then Walmart simply had them beat.”
There are still a couple of stores in Calgary and loyal customers say they’ve grown up with the retailer and are saddened to hear about its demise.
“A lot of seniors shop here so it’s hard to get the younger clientele, which will keep them going,” said Stacey Craig. “Too little too late.”
“I’m going to miss Sears. I’ve been a Sears shopper all my life from being from a small town in Saskatchewan. That Sears’ catalogue was my bible,” said Bernie Charlesworth. “I think it’s an institution that will be dearly missed.”
“Sears is a friend to many, a trusted friend to many and so that’s part of the tragedy of this world as it’s moved on is some people really, really will be sad about the loss,” said Derbyshire.
Liquidation sales at stores could start by October 19th and the process is expected to take about 10 to 14 weeks.
(With files from The Canadian Press)