Sears to close in Red Deer

Sears restructuring to be better positioned in marketplace

aSears in Red Deer is among 59 stores that Sears Canada says it will close as part of the ailing company’s restructuring plan.

On Thursday Sears Canada announced it will close 20 department stores, that includes the Red Deer store, as well as 15 Sears Home Stores, 10 Sears Outlets and 14 Sears Hometown locations.

Sears customer Ken Fox, of Red Deer, said he wasn’t surprised by the closures because there were rumours about the company’s difficulties last year and there have been so many sales.

Fox, who picked up a pair of shoes marked 40 per cent off, said there are plenty of sales right now at the Bower Place store.

Shopper Carmen Tayles, of Red Deer, said she was going to miss the store and wondered why the company doesn’t return to focusing on being a catalogue company to help it compete in today’s retail market.

“That’s kind of the same thing as online shopping,” Tayles said.

“It’s been good. Good appliances and good service.”

Fox said he grew up with the Sears catalogue.

“My mother, with 12 kids, she relied on the Sears catalogue to do all her Christmas and whatever shopping she did,” he said.

Shopper Joanne Crook, of Sylvan Lake, said she likes Sears and now she’ll have to find somewhere else to shop.

Management at the Red Deer store said any statements about the closure had to come from head office. Sears Canada did not respond to the Advocate’s request.

About 2,900 jobs will be cut from Sears retail staff and from corporate head office in Toronto.

Headquartered in Toronto, Sears Canada operates 225 stores in all, including 95 department stores, 65 Sears Hometown stores, and 23 Sears Home Stores.

The closures were announced after the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted the department store chain temporary protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).

The company plans to continue operating throughout the restructuring and said it intends to emerge as a leaner, more focused operation better able to compete in the hyper-competitive retail industry.

The 30-day court protection from creditors will give it some “breathing space” as it tries to revamp its business. The court also authorized Sears Canada to obtain up to $450 million in financing to maintain operations.

Other Alberta stores that will close include department stores in Medicine Hat, Grande Prairie and Lloydminster; and Hometown stores in Cold Lake, St. Albert, Okotoks, Spruce Grove, Fort McMurray, Leduc and Sherwood Park: and Sears Home Stores in Calgary and Edmonton.

(With files from CANADIAN PRESS)

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