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A Brief Timeline of Layoffs, Closures, and More at Sears Canada

A Brief Timeline of Layoffs, Closures, and More at Sears Canada

By Ambia Staley

Whether it's news of layoffs, store closures, or lack of severance payments, it seems as though Canadians are swamped on a daily basis with news regarding the struggling department store chain, Sears Canada.

What may come as a surprise to some, is that Sears' struggles have not started recently, as there were news reports of mass layoffs and other woes dating well back into the 1990s. If you're looking for some brief insight into where Sears' future could be heading, or you're looking to get to the gist of what everyone's been talking about, we've gathered some of the most interesting and relevant facts regarding the company and compiled a brief timeline of Sears' woes:

1991- 1996

1998

September 1999

  • Sears purchases insolvent Eaton brand and gains leases to locations in Toronto's Eaton Centre, as well as Sherway Gardens, Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Scarborough Town Centre, and Vancouver's Pacific Centre.

February 19, 2009

2011

  • Sears cuts 70 head office jobs later in the year, but maintains they have a "higher cash flow in 2011 than in the prior year"

January 24, 2012

February 12, 2012

  • In order gear up for competition coming from Target's entry into Canada, Sears cuts prices on more than 5000 items

March 2, 2012

  • Sears gets $170 million for selling its leases for Pacific Centre in Vancouver, Chinook Centre in Calgary, and Rideau Centre in Ottawa

April 17, 2012

  • Sears cuts apparel offerings to focus on key brands and revamps their return policy, making it more favorable to consumers

October 29, 2013

  • Sears gets $400 million when it sells off the leases for 5 more stores, including their flagship Toronto Eaton Centre location, and cut 1,200 jobs

December 13, 2013

  • The company operating as Sears Home Services goes into receivership and 643 jobs are lost

January 15, 2014

January 29, 2014

  • For the second time in a month, Sears announces more layoffs and 624 workers lose their jobs

January 24, 2016

August 24, 2016

  • Sears Canada begins attempts to reinvent itself with a dramatic logo change

September 27, 2016

  • Reinvention efforts continue with the reveal of "Sears 2.0", a new store format at Promenade Mall and the introduction of the #WhatTheSears campaign

December 9, 2016

  • Sears announces plans to enter the grocery business by selling organic groceries like "Whole Foods at a Joe Fresh price" in 3 to 5 remodeled stores beginning in 2017

June 13, 2017

  • Sears announces their 1st quarter results and reveal a net loss of $144.4 million, raising "significant doubts" about its future
  • The company reveals they have hired advisors to explore a potential restructuring or sale

June 22, 2017

June 29, 2017

  • News reports begin to surface that newly laid-off workers will not receive severance pay and Sears has also stopped making severance payments to formerly laid-off workers. Benefit and pension packages are also at risk

July 13, 2017

July 14, 2017

July 18, 2017

  • Sears gains court approval to begin liquidation sales in the 59 closing stores beginning on July 21

This is, of course, only a fraction of what has been happening at Sears over the years, but this should give you an idea of what the company is facing. We'll try to keep this list updated as news comes out, so be sure to check back!

What do you think the future holds for Sears? Do you see them coming out of their current troubles in one piece, or is their fate already inevitable? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

39 Comments

    • Oh boy, I just got a call back from an interview at their HQ. I guess I'll wait and see.
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    • I'm likely a cause of them out of $400.00 due to Sears Portrait Studio closing without notifing consumers who bought expensive photo packages that included a members card.

      I told them that if the portrait studio said Photos unlimited then thats a different story but since the studio holds the sears name then that makes sears liable if any court action was to take place. So they sent me a $400 cheque just last week thank got we cashed it when we got it lol.
    • Report Post
    • No surprise here. Years of decline along with losses every quarter = bankruptcy.

      Surprised they even lasted the last 5-7 years with all those losses.
    • Report Post
    • The location near me actually began renovating in the past month. I guess it's to make it "look" better for potential sale?
    • Report Post
    • they really messed up last years black friday/xmas season with online orders, they were blasted hard on social media for all the missed deadlines. we ordered a dishwasher on black friday that said it would be delivered the next day, it never came, no one called, we waited 6+ weeks for a refund, kept being told it was on backorder. while a few days later we bought it at lowes, they called within 1 hour, verified delivery time and they showed up on time, same exact dishwasher. that was the last chance sears had at our money.
    • Report Post
    • rocking23nf wrote:
      Jun 13th, 2017 2:33 pm
      they really messed up last years black friday/xmas season with online orders, they were blasted hard on social media for all the missed deadlines. we ordered a dishwasher on black friday that said it would be delivered the next day, it never came, no one called, we waited 6+ weeks for a refund, kept being told it was on backorder. while a few days later we bought it at lowes, they called within 1 hour, verified delivery time and they showed up on time, same exact dishwasher. that was the last chance sears had at our money.
      Had a similar experience with a stove. Sears kept arranging delivery windows week after week but no one would show up. Called in a few times and they would say it was backordered and they would try delivering again next week.

      Thinking back, this is a sign of supply chain failure. Sears simply does not have the liquidity to maintain their contracts with suppliers and hence there are no products available in their warehouse for movement down the supply chain. Effectively Sears cannot fulfill its orders as it doesn't even have the money to buy from its suppliers in the first place.
    • Report Post
    • Sears has been spiraling down for so long it was just a question of when. The stores are absolutely pitiful and it would take a major miracle to pull off a recovery. There is so much broken with shopping at Sears.

      It''s too bad, buying a Kenmore appliance was the way to go back in the heydays. They worked with OEM manufacturers and had stringent quality standards for the Kenmore stuff.
    • Report Post
    • heads up...you guys better use those giftcards asap.

      (I guess that's the reason why the online store does not accept giftcards...they want you to use the funds at the B&M to clear out the inventory.
    • Report Post
    • you mean STC?....when I read the article, I was like...how they get money to renovate that POS space at STC?
    • Report Post
    • you mean STC?....when I read the article, I was like...how they get money to renovate that POS space at STC?
    • Report Post
    • er34er34 wrote:
      Jun 13th, 2017 2:29 pm
      The location near me actually began renovating in the past month. I guess it's to make it "look" better for potential sale?
      you mean STC?....when I read the article, I was like...how they get money to renovate that POS space at STC?
    • Report Post
    • thelefteyeguy wrote:
      Jun 13th, 2017 2:55 pm
      you mean STC?....when I read the article, I was like...how they get money to renovate that POS space at STC?
      No, this was Mississauga.
    • Report Post
    • Dealt with Sears Home just this last week. Overall was a good experience (as always) they do seem to have that end of their business right (at least in the B&M format). Hoping they'll actually keep that part of the company if they go belly-up / sell / restructure. Would make sense as they've already spun them off as separate stores in many locales.
    • Report Post
    • I looked to see what they had for wallets the other day and they have like 3 purses available online. Very sad :(
    • Report Post
    • er34er34 wrote:
      Jun 13th, 2017 3:12 pm
      No, this was Mississauga.
      well...in STC...they are renovating...they deserve to go kaput
    • Report Post
    • This doesn't surprise me one bit. Their business from an operations standpoint is a disaster. Even good retailers are facing challenges, and I wouldn't call Sears good....
    • Report Post
    • Goof ... eh.. good luck, Sears Canada.
      Rarely visit or buy from either online or at the store due to bad/worst customer services and poor choices of high pricesd merchandise.
    • Report Post
    • Just need them to have an appliance blowout so I can do my kitchen cheaper
    • Report Post
    • rocking23nf wrote:
      Jun 13th, 2017 2:33 pm
      they really messed up last years black friday/xmas season with online orders, they were blasted hard on social media for all the missed deadlines. we ordered a dishwasher on black friday that said it would be delivered the next day, it never came, no one called, we waited 6+ weeks for a refund, kept being told it was on backorder. while a few days later we bought it at lowes, they called within 1 hour, verified delivery time and they showed up on time, same exact dishwasher. that was the last chance sears had at our money.
      EasyCompany251 wrote:
      Jun 13th, 2017 2:44 pm
      Had a similar experience with a stove. Sears kept arranging delivery windows week after week but no one would show up. Called in a few times and they would say it was backordered and they would try delivering again next week.

      Thinking back, this is a sign of supply chain failure. Sears simply does not have the liquidity to maintain their contracts with suppliers and hence there are no products available in their warehouse for movement down the supply chain. Effectively Sears cannot fulfill its orders as it doesn't even have the money to buy from its suppliers in the first place.
      To be fair, most big box stores(Home depot) for example, don't stock appliances in their own warehouses. They place orders to the manufacturers/distributor directly and deliveries are arranged by them, although it could be that Sears credibility has gone down the toilet and distributors delay processing Sears orders due to fear of bankruptcy, but hey, maybe they are smart to sell now instead of waiting for Wynn's $15 min wage to kick in.


      Seriously, for all the hate that Sears gets on RFD, they've always delivered on price errors for me. This year alone, I got 2 cheap mattresses(many other RFDers got them free...), the $10 off $10 email code error recently(4 orders of stuff, I paid <$5 total).... really, haters gonna hate... we as consumers are the only ones that are going to feel the pain when Sears goes and there is less competition.

      lava-hot-king-koil-pocketed-coil-double ... r-2072119/
      https://forums.redflagdeals.com/sears-e ... g-2102907/
    • Report Post
    • er34er34 wrote:
      Jun 13th, 2017 4:03 pm
      To be fair, most big box stores(Home depot) for example, don't stock appliances in their own warehouses. They place orders to the manufacturers/distributor directly and deliveries are arranged by them, although it could be that Sears credibility has gone down the toilet and distributors delay processing Sears orders due to fear of bankruptcy, but hey, maybe they are smart to sell now instead of waiting for Wynn's $15 min wage to kick in.


      Seriously, for all the hate that Sears gets on RFD, they've always delivered on price errors for me. This year alone, I got 2 cheap mattresses(many other RFDers got them free...), the $10 off $10 email code error recently(4 orders of stuff, I paid <$5 total).... really, haters gonna hate... we as consumers are the only ones that are going to feel the pain when Sears goes and there is less competition.

      lava-hot-king-koil-pocketed-coil-double ... r-2072119/
      https://forums.redflagdeals.com/sears-e ... g-2102907/
      Those aren't reasons to praise them. Those are signs of how incompetent they are and one of the reasons they are unsuccessful.
    • Report Post
    • I ordered 2 jackets on their website, picked up in store and returned both in wrapped condition within a week.
      That was back in Feb and by end of May, I still didn't get a refund so I had to write them an email and ask.
      They called me back and asked if I truly returned it, because they don't see it was returned in the system. :facepalm:
      I almost had to call CC to do a chargeback.

      Do I need to record a video of the return next time? Probably not. I don't plan to order anything from their website again.
    • Report Post
    • Dinamo2016 wrote:
      Jun 13th, 2017 4:26 pm
      Those aren't reasons to praise them. Those are signs of how incompetent they are and one of the reasons they are unsuccessful.
      Sure, no doubt there is a problem with their systems, but at the very least they started to own up to their errors and honored the price errors(unlike in the not too distant past).
    • Report Post
    • To be fair there has been bad news about Sears for years now. Every year it seems like its going to go bankrupt. I see them struggling and holding on for years to come.
    • Report Post
    • Old story recycled. The end has been coming for 10 years now and I'm surprised they made it past Christmas. It will however create something of a domino effect when they do go because they lease a lot of commercial real estate and they anchor a lot of major shopping centres.

      The Bay is probably next.
    • Report Post
    • Gmas wrote:
      Jun 13th, 2017 3:35 pm
      This doesn't surprise me one bit. Their business from an operations standpoint is a disaster. Even good retailers are facing challenges, and I wouldn't call Sears good....
      Unfortunately the U.S. parent has bled both the Canadian and the U.S. operation dry. They never had a chance.

      I actually love Craftsman tools and my snowblower has been great. It's going to leave another huge hole on the Canadian retail landscape. Brutal.
    • Report Post
    • squall458 wrote:
      Jun 13th, 2017 4:59 pm
      To be fair there has been bad news about Sears for years now. Every year it seems like its going to go bankrupt. I see them struggling and holding on for years to come.
      They have stayed alive by selling leases and property.

      I think they are just about out of options this time.
    • Report Post
    • kool1 wrote:
      Jun 13th, 2017 5:55 pm
      I think they are just about out of options this time.
      Okay ummm...what happened to their idea of maybe adding groceries to their store...I'm guessing to look more like an RCSS?? (competing with the RCSS/Joe Fresh stores maybe...)
      http://www.blogto.com/eat_drink/2016/12 ... e-toronto/

      As nothing more than a pure guess, I was thinking that maybe Metro or Sobey's would buy Sears to tackle RCSS head on.
    • Report Post
    • Has anyone tried ordering online with Sears? It's a complete mess. No wonder they're going under but it's still a shame.
    • Report Post
  • rb
    • kool1 wrote:
      Jun 13th, 2017 5:54 pm
      Unfortunately the U.S. parent has bled both the Canadian and the U.S. operation dry. They never had a chance.

      I actually love Craftsman tools and my snowblower has been great. It's going to leave another huge hole on the Canadian retail landscape. Brutal.
      Big hole in some major shopping malls, I am not far from Erin Mills town centre - the Sears space will be hard to fill ( hope a Winners comes in there )
    • Report Post
    • er34er34 wrote:
      Jun 13th, 2017 4:03 pm
      To be fair, most big box stores(Home depot) for example, don't stock appliances in their own warehouses. They place orders to the manufacturers/distributor directly and deliveries are arranged by them, although it could be that Sears credibility has gone down the toilet and distributors delay processing Sears orders due to fear of bankruptcy, but hey, maybe they are smart to sell now instead of waiting for Wynn's $15 min wage to kick in.


      Seriously, for all the hate that Sears gets on RFD, they've always delivered on price errors for me. This year alone, I got 2 cheap mattresses(many other RFDers got them free...), the $10 off $10 email code error recently(4 orders of stuff, I paid <$5 total).... really, haters gonna hate... we as consumers are the only ones that are going to feel the pain when Sears goes and there is less competition.

      lava-hot-king-koil-pocketed-coil-double ... r-2072119/
      https://forums.redflagdeals.com/sears-e ... g-2102907/
      hey if someone kept giving me free shit, I'd like them too. But free shit means someones paying for it...either the shareholders or they just jack their prices on others (in this case it's likely bondholders which will get a haircut.
    • Report Post
    • rb wrote:
      Jun 13th, 2017 6:37 pm
      Big hole in some major shopping malls, I am not far from Erin Mills town centre - the Sears space will be hard to fill ( hope a Winners comes in there )
      Sears stores in the GTA were huge...wont be filled easily...mostly like the mall redevelops into smaller spaces.

      http://urbantoronto.ca/forum/threads/cf ... ent.25738/
      (Markville tore the space previously occupied by Sears...but likely more stores will occupy...Muji next...hopefully Uniqlo next)
    • Report Post
    • I'm always amazed and how much of these old school retailers completely ignored their supply chains and systems for so long and expected it to be ok. They had state of the art systems in the late 70s/80s then basically milked them dry during the 90-2000s with no investment and now here they are unable to compete.
      When times were good they should have started to look at upgrading their systems and expanding their venues for sales, but nope.

      Sad. I'm going to miss being able to get parts for almost any appliance or tool because Craftsman/Kenmore were just rebrands with better touches and sometimes cheaper price tag.
    • Report Post
    • Had good times with Sears, however now I just call it old people's place to go to.
    • Report Post
    • I only ordered online from them three times, all in the last two years, and am batting zero for 3. Sheet set ordered over 2 weeks ago never received a shipped email(requested ship to store), but the status says shipped.
    • Report Post
    • frogger wrote:
      Jun 13th, 2017 7:59 pm
      I only ordered online from them three times, all in the last two years, and am batting zero for 3. Sheet set ordered over 2 weeks ago never received a shipped email(requested ship to store), but the status says shipped.
      they love to charge you right away, doesnt matter if they have the item or not, then its a major hassel to get a refund.
    • Report Post
    • i ordered leather sofa from sears last week and they cancelled my order next day saying it was an inventory error sears online shopping is worst so old school :P
    • Report Post
    • Of all the old school companies, Sears was poised to take advantage of the digital economy and the internet, and they completely eff'ed it up. The only other case almost as bad is Kodak.
    • Report Post
    • Ottomaddox wrote:
      Jun 13th, 2017 8:59 pm
      Of all the old school companies, Sears was poised to take advantage of the digital economy and the internet, and they completely eff'ed it up. The only other case almost as bad is Kodak.
      Totally agree with the Sears comment.

      These guys were the leaders in Catalogue Shopping for eons... Should have been an easy transition to E-Shopping.

      Not sure where they went off the rails in that regard.

      Merchandise in general (except for Appliances) I found tho did not evolve with the times. They were good for "middle of the road" stuff, but Customers wanted more choices (upscale) by 2000, and Sears did not keep up in that regard.

      In the end, I felt they were a bit like an over-priced WalMart, and so became another Retailer I did not shop at.

      I wish Canada had a decent Dept Store... Remember the good old days when there were many:

      The Bay - Sears - Simpsons - Eaton's - Holt Renfrew, and Just about every major city had their own local versions too.
      I even miss the midrangers.... Zellers - Woolco - Woolworth - Kmart - Kresge - Miracle Mart - Towers - Marks & Spencer's

      Seems all we have now is a few players and they are upscale over priced or bargain basement & pretty junky. Not much middle ground.

      I try to support Canadian Retail, but without choice, it's a shame cause clearly more of my $ are being spent either in the US or online with companies who have US Parents.
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