Court grants Sears Canada ap­proval to be­gin liq­ui­da­tion sales at 59 lo­ca­tions slated to close

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - LINDA NGUYEN

TORONTO — Liq­ui­da­tion sales at dozens of Sears Canada lo­ca­tions slated for clo­sure could be­gin as early as this week af­ter an On­tario court signed off on the plan Tues­day.

The sales can start Fri­day and run no later than Oct. 12 with the deep dis­counts hap­pen­ing only at the 59 depart­ment and Sears Home stores that have been slated for clo­sure.

Sears lawyer Jeremy Dacks told the hear­ing to ap­prove the plan that it was “cru­cial” the re­tailer be per­mit­ted to be­gin sales of its mer­chan­dise, fur­ni­ture, fix­tures and equip­ment as soon as pos­si­ble so it could “max­i­mize” ben­e­fits for its stake­hold­ers.

“It gives us cer­tainty of re­cov­ery,” Dacks said in court.

The nearly 300-page mo­tion was un­op­posed by the litany of lawyers in­volved in the pro­ceed­ings, in­clud­ing those rep­re­sent­ing the com­pany, the land­lords, the mon­i­tor and cur­rent and ex-em­ploy­ees.

The ma­jor­ity of the sales will be over­seen by a third-party liq­uida­tor with cur­rent em­ploy­ees be­ing asked to stay on the job un­til the sales are com­plete and the lo­ca­tions are shut down.

Stores will be able to ad­ver­tise the sales with signs that say “Every­thing On Sale,” “Every­thing Must Go,” and “Store Clos­ing” or sim­i­lar word­ing. How­ever, the signs can­not say “Bank­ruptcy,” “Liq­ui­da­tion” or “Go­ing out of Busi­ness,” ac­cord­ing to the mo­tion.

Sears Canada has been op­er­at­ing un­der court pro­tec­tion from cred­i­tors since June 22 when it an­nounced its plan to shut­ter 59 stores and cut ap­prox­i­mately 2,900 jobs.

Last week, On­tario Su­pe­rior Court Judge Glenn Hainey gave the com­pany the green light to be­gin the process of putting it­self up for sale.

He also gave the re­tailer ap­proval to pay $9.2 mil­lion in re­ten­tion bonuses to ex­ec­u­tives and other key em­ploy­ees.

The pay­out was part of a com­pro­mise with re­tired em­ploy­ees that will see Sears Canada con­tinue mak­ing some ben­e­fit and pen­sion pay­ments to re­tirees un­til Sept. 30.

Founded in 1952, Sears Canada op­er­ates 239 lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing depart­ment stores, Home­town stores, Home Stores, dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tres and ware­houses. It also owns 16 fran­chises un­der the Cor­beil ban­ner, a spe­cialty ma­jor ap­pli­ances chain.

It said it hopes to exit court pro­tec­tion as soon as pos­si­ble this year.

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