Sears Canada wants court’s per­mis­sion to liq­ui­date all re­main­ing stores

Re­tailer hopes to starts liq­ui­da­tion sales no ear­lier than Oct. 19, clos­ing about 130 out­lets

The Miracle - - Business -

Sears Canada said Tues­day it plans to seek court ap­proval to be­gin liq­ui­da­tion of all of its re­main­ing stores and as­sets, a move that would see about 130 out­lets close and put about 12,000 em­ploy­ees out of work. “Sears Canada, with the rec­om­men­da­tion of its ad­vis­ers and ap­proval of the mon­i­tor, FTI Con­sult­ing Inc., is seek­ing an or­der to com­mence a liq­ui­da­tion that would re­sult in a wind-down of its busi­ness fol­low­ing court ap­proval,” Sears Canada said in a re­lease. “The com­pany deeply re­grets this pend­ing out­come and the re­sult­ing loss of jobs and store clo­sures,” the re­tailer said. Pos­si­ble liq­ui­da­tion looms as Sears Canada faces dead­line Why for­mer ex­ecs doubt trou­bled re­tailer can sur­vive Sears Canada said that if it gets court ap­proval to be­gin the process, it ex­pects that liq­ui­da­tion sales at its stores would start no ear­lier than Oct. 19 and con­tinue for 10 to 14 weeks.“We have said this be­fore, but it is worth re­peat­ing — the ac­tions be­ing taken are a re­flec­tion on the state of the re­tail mar­ket to­day, not your ef­forts or your con­tri­bu­tions to the com­pany, which have been greatly ap­pre­ci­ated,” Sears ex­ec­u­tive vi­cepres­i­dent Becky Pen­rice said in a let­ter to em­ploy­ees.“You and our for­mer col­leagues have stuck by us and con­tin­ued to give it your all. I sin­cerely re­gret that we have reached this point,” Pen­rice said in the let­ter. Sears Canada has been in court-ap­proved­cred­i­tor pro­tec­tion since June 22. Af­ter it was granted pro­tec­tion, Sears re­ceived per­mis­sion from the court to seek out a buyer or in­vestors. Hope for a po­ten­tial buyer resided in a bid led by Canada’s ex­ec­u­tive chair­man, Bran- don Stranzl, who pledged to keep Sears in op­er­a­tion and save thou­sands of jobs. How­ever, the com­pany said Tues­day that “fol­low­ing ex­haus­tive ef­forts, no vi­able trans­ac­tion for the com­pany to con­tinue as a go­ing con­cern was re­ceived.” ‘End of an era’ Bruce Win­der, co-founder and part­ner at Re­tail Ad­vi­sors Net­work, said it ap­pears that “the odds are quite low that some­one is go­ing to swoop in and save Sears, un­for­tu­nately.” Win­der added: “It is the end of an era, be­cause Sears was once one of the most im­por­tant and largest re­tail­ers in Canada and in North Amer­ica.” Work­ers say hard­ship cash amounts to noth­ing af­ter EI cut The com­pany an­nounced in June that it would be clos­ing al­most 60 stores. Last week, it re­ceived court ap­proval to close 11 other stores. At that court hear­ing, a lawyer for FTI Con­sult­ing warned that Sears Canada was run­ning out of time and money. At the same hear­ing, a lawyer for the lenders that pro­vided the re­tailer with fi­nanc­ing while it is in cred­i­tor pro­tec­tion said that if a buyer couldn’t be found, then it would be key to liq­ui­date be­fore the Christ­mas sea­son is over in or­der to max­i­mize the value the process could gen­er­ate.

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