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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!

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    • My Extended Warranty is for our Washer & Dryer, and comes due in Oct 2017. What are your dates ?
      Nov 2017
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    • what happens to the extra warranty i purchased on my appliances. They have a return policy of warranty into sears gift cards if warranty is not used.
      Right now you're okay as they are "restructuring" but if they do go belly up (chances are good they will) then you'll be SOL unfortunately.
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    • what happens to the extra warranty i purchased on my appliances. They have a return policy of warranty into sears gift cards if warranty is not used.
      As an Extended Warranty holder, I too wonder about this. Have read no conclusive info to date.

      On the other hand, this is part of a restructuring (closure / liquidation of 59 Sears Canada locations ... 20 Sears Dept Sores - 15 Sears Home Stores - 14 Sears Hometown Stores - and 10 Sears Outlet Stores)... So not a total belly up

      But they have said elsewhere that they also plan to get out of Tools, Auto Parts, Electronics & Appliances.... I took the latter to mean the Applance sections in their regular stores (streamlining) as they are not closing all of their Home Stores.

      I guess we can only adopt a wait & see strategy at this point in time.

      My Extended Warranty is for our Washer & Dryer, and comes due in Oct 2017. What are your dates ?
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    • December 5, 2013
      * Sears Canada pays hefty dividend to major U.S. shareholders
      * Nearly half a billion dollars in cash goes back to its U.S. parent company and financier Edward Lampert.
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    • you just knew it was going bad when sears was stupid enough to include Mike Meyer's brother (the star of a very popular sears ad) in their round of layoffs (without severance), causing Mike to slam the company in various articles and media outlets.

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/sears-m ... -1.4199261

      Image
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    • I was at a Kmart (owned and being closed by Sears USA) in Stroudsburg PA a couple of weeks ago - all clothing in the store was 75% off.
      Picked up 2 doz pairs of men's Hanes sport socks $.37 a pair.
      Men's Jockey briefs were $.75 a pair.

      Sears & K-Mart in the USA are dying the same slow agonizing death as Sears Canada.
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    • I looked to see what they had for wallets the other day and they have like 3 purses available online. Very sad :(
      :( wow thats so sad. I used to frequent in the Eaton centre Sears and pretty much spent the entire day at that Starbucks inside Sears. Although they closed down that location early on, I still felt happy that they are still around. It is so sad to read about this. I love Sears so much, too many memories.
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    • what happens to the extra warranty i purchased on my appliances. They have a return policy of warranty into sears gift cards if warranty is not used.
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    • If they are coming to an end, why did they spend money to renovate and re-done the retail area in Fairview Mall, Toronto?
      Same with the Scarborough Town location. Those plans were made a while back with the expectation that there would be a grocery business of some sort helping them out.
      So far, looks like the plans fell through...grocery not happening (yet?) and Sears is still stuck with the renovation bill: https://www.thestar.com/business/2016/1 ... drops.html
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    • If they are coming to an end, why did they spend money to renovate and re-done the retail area in Fairview Mall, Toronto?
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    • it will be just like the Target "liquidation" much ado about nothing.....these third party liquidators will hike the prices up 40% before reducing them 30%.....
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    • I forgot to mention that the sales associate at the sales desks told me that Sears is no longer issuing new Sears Club points, but is allowing redemptions for now.
      Good to know this information. There were e-mails mentioning Sear Club points on items. The last one I have is from June 8-when I click My Offers, I see a personal offer for 1000 pts if I were to spend $140 or more by July 18.
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    • Last week I placed 4 orders online with Sears and had them shipped to the catalogue desk at Sears Kildonan Place in Winnipeg. The associate who covers the reciving dock also covers the catalogue desk. Their catalogue desk's computer and tablet had no record of receiving one of my orders because someone had marked the order as cancelled rather than partially shipped, so I had the associate physically look for the package.

      Is this typical behavior for Sears online orders?
      Sears implemented a new software system around the time retailers were ramping up for Nov/Dec sales. Staff have had problems using it and training was part of the issue too. At least you still have catalogue pickup at store.
      I went to the Hamilton store at Lime Ridge Mall. First floor has been essentially made into a Winners (the WTS or Sears 2.0) now.
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    • I forgot to mention that the sales associate at the sales desks told me that Sears is no longer issuing new Sears Club points, but is allowing redemptions for now.
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    • Typical behaviour is that they tend to screw up a lot no matter the task at hand. I feel that is the real reason for their woes. I took advantage of the bogo shoe sale last week. I received a confirmation about the order saying that an email would be sent when the order is shipped. After a few days, I went online and found that the order status was shipped but there was no email.

      Then the next odyssey was to determine when I could pick up the order at the store. I had it shipped to store like you did. So I called customer service who then gave me the tracking number because the shipped email was never sent. After about a half hour, the CSR was able to tell me that the shipment had been in the store for 3 days and that I could pick it up. Thankfully, I like the shoes. Also, it seems they shipped to store by UPS. Somehow, that seems wasteful when it's your own store.
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    • Last week I placed 4 orders online with Sears and had them shipped to the catalogue desk at Sears Kildonan Place in Winnipeg. The associate who covers the reciving dock also covers the catalogue desk. Their catalogue desk's computer and tablet had no record of receiving one of my orders because someone had marked the order as cancelled rather than partially shipped, so I had the associate physically look for the package.

      Is this typical behavior for Sears online orders?
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    • Can't miss Sears never had one where I liveđŸ˜•
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    • We just bought a refrigerator - Kenmore/LG. Extended warranty is with Sears. Should we cancel the warranty?
      I bought a LG fridge and a Kenmore dishwasher 3 months ago, delivery was due on last saturday, they called me the day before to tell me the appliances aren't in stock and won't be for at least 2 weeks! Great!
      Been trying to get a refund for the Extended Warranty for the appliances for a month now, I had to call in maybe 4 times, go in-store 2 or 3 times and it isn't refunded yet, always excuses and excuses...

      Now I have been paying for 2 months (Sears loan 0% interest/24 months) for a fridge and a dishwasher that they don't even have in stock, they knew for 3 months in advance that the delivery was schedulded on june 30th...
      This is the worst service I have been involved with, totally disrespectful of the client.. Anyways, try to get refunded that warranty ASAP because they won't honour it if they close doors. But good luck with all the phone calls you will have to make and all the time ou will loose arguing with them to get what you want as a Customer.
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    • Bay has way better selection than majority of US retailers...us mid tier like Macy's, jc penny etc carry same garbage as Sears for fashion.... Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus has higher end but not upper middle stuff

      I can buy everything from flippa k to J.Lindberg to Ben Sherman to their selected brand, scotch and soda , Hugo boss to Burberry to cheap stuff like Tommy Hilfiger

      Same thing with house ware, bed, linens etc

      They do lack the really cheap low end stuff that garbage stores in us sell..which I guess the US has better selection of
      Sorry I disagree.

      The Bay is definitely better than Sears (Canada or US versions) and slightly better than JC Penny ... Which i see as only slightly better than Sears.

      But it does not even come close to any US Dept Store when it comes to quantity of goods on display (my local Bay could easily double as a bowling alley these days)

      The Bay tries very hard to be a classy Dept Store in Canada, but falls short of Macy's... Definitely in selection, layout / presentation... And often in pricing.

      We could happily shop everyday at Macy's in the USA, and find quality merchandise at a good price 75% or more (3 Sales cycles out of 4 in a month) whereas at The Bay, I would be hard pressed to find similar results 25% to 50% of the time.

      IMO no where is this more apparent than in Housewares, Clothing, Shoes, Accessories & Jewelery... Which are the Departments where we tend to find the biggest selection & greatest deals when we are stateside. Clothing is especially lagging behind Macy's when it comes to selection. Cannot recall the last time we bought clothes there... Women's clothing at The Bay vs Macy's is partcularly bad. (Wife is buying more & more clothing, shoes & accessories either On Sale or Clearance at Macy's vs here in Canada)

      We love Nordstrom, Neaman Marcus, Lords & Taylor as well as Bloomingdales... But they are far more high end / expensive for our taste / budget. Tend to see them "leaning" more towards Holtz & Renfrew. As much as we love walking thru them and browsing,.. They really are out of or price range
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    • I wonder if you are near Brentwood Mall (as I am). I was surprised not to see it on the list as well. That store is depressing and I only see it when I park on the roof and go through it to get to London Drugs.

      The fact that it's not on the list adds to my long-held theory that the new owners and developer are giving them essentially free rent to keep them on until the major development is done.
      I totally disagree. I like this Sears!
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    • absolute shit.

      long term employees, especially full time (35+hrs a week x 5 years minimum) deserve something..

      although..

      i was at a very very very well known and country wide retail store for 15 years full time and 'all' i received was 13K.

      sad sad sad for everyone involved
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    • absolute shit.

      long term employees, especially full time (35+hrs a week x 5 years minimum) deserve something..

      although..

      i was at a very very very well known and country wide retail store for 15 years full time and 'all' i received was 13K.

      sad sad sad for everyone involved
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    • Bay has gone more high end than it used to be. They changed their retail approach, and it seems to be working for them.

      I disagree with you on the pricing in the US being cheaper than Canada. I've found the opposite, and the selection in the states is far superior than here.

      I'll also disagree on Sears being lower class, Wal-Mart is lower class. Sears is middle class, and the Bay trends toward upper class, without hitting the heights of Holt Renfrew, Saks 5th, etc.
      Bay has way better selection than majority of US retailers...us mid tier like Macy's, jc penny etc carry same garbage as Sears for fashion.... Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus has higher end but not upper middle stuff

      I can buy everything from flippa k to J.Lindberg to Ben Sherman to their selected brand, scotch and soda , Hugo boss to Burberry to cheap stuff like Tommy Hilfiger

      Same thing with house ware, bed, linens etc

      They do lack the really cheap low end stuff that garbage stores in us sell..which I guess the US has better selection of
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    • The Ancaster Sears Whole Home store is set to close but the community paper did not have information about when the closing sale will occur.
      I found an item from almost 4 years ago about how the local Whole Home store was revamping its setup to appeal to customers during the time Target came to Canada.
      https://www.hamiltonnews.com/news-story ... -ancaster/

      What happens to Corbeil Appliances, which took over appliance sales in the Whole Home stores? That chain will be shut out of some markets when affected Whole Home stores close down. Corbeil uses its own branded trucks for delivery. No guessing who is driving a mystery white delivery truck for an appliance dropoff as happened when a family member ordered a fridge through a regular Sears mall store.
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    • Pointshubby - and thus the reason so many retailers are closing.
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    • My 9100 Sears rewards points expired in January. I didn't notice it until I wanted to use my Sears GC last week. And I called customer service and got the maximum 5000 points back. Together with 50$ GC I bought a luggage with Canada 150 on it.
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    • US has had a lot more store closures and bankruptcy than here and Sears was for the lower class mostly...Bay is middle class

      Us prices are a lot higher than in Canada for clothing and many other items at stores...I can always find stuff cheaper at the bay than in the states
      Bay has gone more high end than it used to be. They changed their retail approach, and it seems to be working for them.

      I disagree with you on the pricing in the US being cheaper than Canada. I've found the opposite, and the selection in the states is far superior than here.

      I'll also disagree on Sears being lower class, Wal-Mart is lower class. Sears is middle class, and the Bay trends toward upper class, without hitting the heights of Holt Renfrew, Saks 5th, etc.
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    • Thx, living in Montreal, I didn't see the Globe article.

      Fortunately my wife was able to move her accumulated pension funds to another investment company when she left last year.
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    • TodayHello,

      Since my wife worked for Sears for 18 years, what you wrote was of particular interest to me.
      How do you know about your #1?
      Our friends who work for Sears have heard nothing.

      Pension in particular is based on a separate pension fund governed by pension regulations that have nothing to do with operations. The only way they don't get their pensions is if the fund is drastically underfunded - which may be possible (as with Nortel) but there are laws about that. I haven't heard of any announcements. If there was an announcement about pensions, please point me that way. I'll forward it to our friends that might be affected.
      The Globe and Mail.

      https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report- ... e35454179/

      Sears’s defined-benefit pension plan has a deficit of almost $267-million, court filings indicate. To make it up, it would need to contribute $3.7-million a month to it, they say. And it has $196-million of liabilities tied to the retirees’ medical, dental and life insurance benefits plan, the filings say.
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    • TodayHello,

      Since my wife worked for Sears for 18 years, what you wrote was of particular interest to me.
      How do you know about your #1?
      Our friends who work for Sears have heard nothing.

      Pension in particular is based on a separate pension fund governed by pension regulations that have nothing to do with operations. The only way they don't get their pensions is if the fund is drastically underfunded - which may be possible (as with Nortel) but there are laws about that. I haven't heard of any announcements. If there was an announcement about pensions, please point me that way. I'll forward it to our friends that might be affected.
    • Report Post
    • my sears is spruce grove, its basically a baby sears with some furniture and a few appliances, and the only reason to step foot in the joint is for a ship to store order. West Edmonton mall is a 10 minute drive in the other direction if you wanted to go to sears.
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    • Some interesting points in this thread tbh.

      My two cents ...

      1) What they're doing with severance (none) and pensions (goodbye) is terrible. Another great example of employees getting screwed over by corporate incompetence.

      2) Business types in offices far away from the actual consumers love to think they know what consumers want. They have an MBA so they must know more about people than people know themselves! Data science! Marketing! Performance management and offshoring to reduce costs! Lower pay and more part time for increased 'flex work'! Hilarious garbage. The thing is ... people aren't that stupid. I'm going to shop around. I'm going to go to amazon on my phone. If and when I need an appliance, a big ticket item, I'm going to spend 15mins to do some Googleing and then buy it at the cheapest place with the best customer service / warranty. You sell commodities, not services. Your brand doesn't mean anything. You're a place I go to buy brands.
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    • Yes but what is a quality brand in 2017 ?

      Older folks used to go by the brand name and price to gauge quality.
      It was also assumed that the higher you paid the better the service that came with it.
      That's why sears was a defacto go to for their Kenmore brand (and others) and why their business model succeeded.

      But brands started to cheapen their own product to appeal to every class and the quality line is completely blurred.
      I have a cheap insignia TV that has outlived two major brand name lcd that friends paid much more for.

      Sears never noticed the switch in manufacturing strategy (or probably just didn't give a f...) and kept thinking if we sell high, people will come. For reasons beyond my comprehension, apple still gets by on that assumption (maybe average tech consumers are 20 years behind)
      But for other commodities times have changed and your device/clothing/accessories can crap out at any time regardless of the price you paid (most of them are even engineered to fail) so what is left? Service! How well the item performs the service for what you purchased it for, how easy it is to test and have it delivered to you and how easy it is to have any issues resolved.

      Now, amazon and walmart offers brain dead shopping experience... buy it, try it, you no like, you return, we sorry you no like. They actually have as bad customer service as sears but their system offers most of the information you will ever need but you will find that there is no one to answer your questions if orders gets cancelled (and stuff shows up online few days later at higher price) or your packages gets lost. Look at reviews many times low ratings are caused by poor customer service and have nothing to do with the product.
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    • US has had a lot more store closures and bankruptcy than here and Sears was for the lower class mostly...Bay is middle class
      Quantity wise for sure, but then the USA has 10x the population, so just one store chain going out of biz here is far more significant.

      Plus I don't think that Canada has that much to begin with due to our geographic & demographic issues (the same stuff that folks complain about every day here on RFD)

      As for Sears being for the Lower Class ... I disagree.

      IMO the Super Discounters are where the poorer folks shop (Value Village - Dollar Store - Walmart etc) ... That and those looking for a BIG bargain

      Sears has clearly functioned throughout its history as a Middle Class Dept Store, as did Eaton's, The Bay etc.

      Sears was just sort of "everyone's store", folks shopped there for quality goods at a decent price, and once upon a time good service "Satisfaction Guaranteed or Your Money Back"
      Us prices are a lot higher than in Canada for clothing and many other items at stores...I can always find stuff cheaper at the bay than in the states
      Yes & No. You really have to know your pricing before shopping in the USA... More so now when you take in the current exchange rate. But there are deals to be found on both sides of the Border (be it clothes, electronics, Jewellery, housewares, food, booze, etc)

      Sometimes I find brand name goods at Macy's that is on sale which is a relative steal vs what we pay in Canada for the same thing... And sometimes I skip purchasing anything cause after doing the math, the price is virtually the same in Cdn Dollars... In which case I spend my money here in Canada, and save my US Personal Exemption for something more worthwhile.
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