The End of an Era – Sears Canada to Pull the Plug
Sears Canada – In a press release on Tuesday October 10th, Sears Canada announced its plans to seek court approval in order to begin liquidating all of its remaining stores and assets. Approximately 130 stores will be closed – and close to 12,000 employees across Canada will lose their jobs.
Last June 22nd, they were granted protection from their creditors by an Ontario court – all part of their restructuring plan. Before filing with the courts, Sears began making changes to its stores across the country, trying to keep up with the trends their customers were being drawn to – and it required time for those changes to have an impact. Their plans were to emerge from bankruptcy later this year – but appears it was too much of a challenge for them.
In 1952 Sears Canada, then known as Simpson-Sears, started out as mail-order company with a partnership between Sears Roebuck based in Chicago and the Robert Simpson Company of Toronto. Their iconic catalogues were found in homes everywhere across Canada – and even a lifeline for those living in rural areas away from cities.
Then in 1984, the ‘Simpson-Sears’ name would no longer be when the Hudson Bay Company bought Simpsons – and Sears officially became known as ‘Sears Canada’. In 1995, they opened their first home furniture store, which later on became known as ‘Sears Home’. There is much more history behind the iconic store, but by 2009 they began to face challenges and up to 300 employees lost their jobs. By 2012, facing even more struggles, they started selling the leases of their stores located in key areas.
According to the National Apparel Bureau of Canada, which provides credit information and tracks retail clothing stores across the country, rumours were coming from Sears Holdings Corporation, the US parent company, that they were looking to sell the Canadian end of the business as early as spring of 2014. The next few years saw senior officers of the company stepping down, replaced by new management. It was the beginning of the end.
After being granted court protection last June and announcing the planned closure of 59 stores across Canada, with almost 2,900 employees to be laid off, the news this past week did not come as a surprise to many.
In their press release they said, “Sears Canada, with the recommendation of its advisers and approval of the monitor, FTI Consulting Inc., is seeking an order to commence a liquidation that would result in a wind-down of its business following court approval… the company deeply regrets this pending outcome and the resulting loss of jobs and store closures.”
Once they get the court approval, they will hold final liquidation sales of their stores across Canada, expected to start towards the end of October until sometime early in the New Year.
It certainly is the end of an era for many, but competition from trending stores and online websites have forced them to close the last chapter in their long catalogue – of ups and then downs.