Sears Canada dropped a bombshell on its employees Tuesday with the announcement that the beleaguered retail chain is applying to Ontario’s Supreme Court of Justice to liquidate its remaining stores and assets.
In a news release, the company arrived at its decision to liquidate after “exhaustive efforts” found no interested buyer wanting to continue Sears Canada as a viable business.
“Accordingly, Sears Canada, with the recommendation of its advisors 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 release said.
“The Company deeply regrets this pending outcome and the resulting loss of jobs and store closures.”
The move is expected to affect hundreds of jobs in B.C.
In Nelson, Sears owner Barry Marsh said the news is not a surprise, adding he had already commenced the process of leaving the retail giant.
“I was fairly certain that Sears was not going to last, but I didn’t think it was happen this quickly,” said Marsh.
Marsh, who operates Sears Nelson on Lakeside Drive, has been considering his options since Sears Canada filed for bankruptcy in June of this year.
“I’ve been looking at going independent anyway . . . this just speeds up the process,” he said. “I have already been looking at financing and liquidating what we have.”
Sears Nelson is not like the major department stores holding down large chunks of retail space in malls.
The locally owned, and operated, the store employs a small staff that specializing in major appliances, mattresses, fitness, outdoor power produces and furniture.
Marsh said the new store, which will continue to operate from the current Lakeside Drive location, will again focus on selling appliances and mattresses using a different buying group.
“We’ll have nothing to do with Sears Canada,” Marsh explained.
“Instead we’ll sign on with a different buying group that offers different product lines.”
“It will be the same stuff, just different brands,” he adds.
Marsh said he had hoped to make a seamless transition from Sears Canada to his own store.
However, the Tuesday’s announcement changes the dynamics of the changeover.
“Everything we’ve been receiving from Sears has been too ambiguous,” he said. “But they said liquidation sales would continue for 10 to 14 weeks so we’ll take that time to get things in place for our new store.”
Before Tuesday, Sears Canada announced the closure of 70 stores across Canada affecting as many as 4,100 employees.