In capital to close
323 people out of work
Shoppers check out the bargains at Sears in the Carlingwood Mall yesterday. It’s one of three area Sears that will be liquidated.
More than 300 Ottawans will be out of jobs from three local Sears stores after the company announced all its Canadian locations would close shop.
Sears Canada is seeking approval to liquidate its roughly 130 remaining stores and put 12,000 employees out of work across the country, including retail and distribution jobs.
The embattled department store retailer, which sought protection from its creditors in June, said Tuesday it had failed to find a buyer that would allow it to continue operating.
Ottawa’s locations include Sears at Carlingwood Mall, which has 133 employees, Sears Home Store at Pinecrest Mall, which has 36 employees, and a third location at St. Laurent Shopping Centre, which has 154 employees.
The liquidation sales would likely begin Oct. 19 and last 10 to 14 weeks, said a spokesman.
Outside the Carlingwood Sears on Wednesday, reaction was mixed.
“It’s pretty sad,” said Maureen McCann, who was shopping at the store with her sister Peggy. “It was around for all our years growing up, and it was always a place where I shopped.”
“We had accounts with Sears since we were teenagers,” added Peggy, “and we bought everything here — furniture and appliances — and it is kind of sad. We’re kind of surprised that it’s Sears closing and not The Bay, which is a little more pricey. But in the last few years, the service (at Sears) did go down.
“They used to stand behind their products all the time, and then we started having trouble. That must have been a sign.”
Carleton Place resident Sandy Roesler, a housecleaner, was at Sears on Wednesday to scoop up bags for her Kenmore vacuum cleaners and to find out where she’d be able to purchase them in the future. Kenmore is Sears’s store brand for appliances.
“I grew up with this store and I really like their products,” she said. “It’s sad that so many people are losing their jobs, but also what Sears has done for the community, like the children’s hospital and other places they donate to in the city.”
Heather Hopewell, who worked in the cosmetics department of the Carlingwood Sears for two years, after eight years at the Rideau Centre location until it closed in 2012, said she’s not surprised. “As a (former) employee, I can tell you that the customer service was awful. As a customer, if you need help, you can’t find anybody.”
Barry Nabatian, a market research analyst, said the jobs lost in Ottawa will likely be absorbed by competing stores such as Marshalls, Walmart, and Loblaws.
Nabatian argued Sears was too slow to adapt to the modern demands of shoppers, who insist not just on an attractive retail space but a seamless online shopping experience.
The court overseeing Sears Canada’s operations is set to hear a motion Friday seeking approval for the liquidation and winding down of the business.
“The company deeply regrets this pending outcome and the resulting loss of jobs and store closures,” Sears Canada said in a statement on Tuesday.