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:
- Walmart begins aggressively expanding in Canada in 1994, taking market share from Sears. Sales drop throughout the early 90s, causing Sears to layoff approximately 14,000 employees over 5 years
- Sears Canada becomes one of the first retailers in the country to launch an e-commerce site
- 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
- Sears cuts 300 jobs, citing "challenging business conditions"
- 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
- Sears lays off more than 1,600 workers, many of which are call centre workers who will see their jobs outsourced to countries like the Philippines
January 29, 2014
- For the second time in a month, Sears announces more layoffs and 624 workers lose their jobs
January 24, 2016
- Sears announces plans to shutter more stores, and expands closures to Home and Outlet locations
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
- Sears files for creditor protection, announces the closing of 59 stores, and lays off 2,900 workers
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
- Sears submits a legal motion asking for approval to begin the liquidation process in 45 stores on July 21
- Courts give Sears permission to reach out to potential buyers while under creditor protection
- Sears agrees to continue benefit and pension payments to employees through September
July 14, 2017
- According to court documents, Sears will pay $7.6 million in retention bonuses to executives and senior management, as well as $1.6 million to senior store employees overseeing liquidation sales
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!