Sears ramps up holiday discounts

Sears Canada Inc. (TSX:SCC) says low consumer confidence pulled down sales lower during the third quarter, but it’s hoping to combat the downturn with more holiday season discounts.

A shopping cart ioutside of a Sears store.

A shopping cart ioutside of a Sears store.

TORONTO — Sears Canada Inc. (TSX:SCC) says low consumer confidence pulled down sales lower during the third quarter, but it’s hoping to combat the downturn with more holiday season discounts.

“Sears will be aggressively marketing in the fourth quarter,” said Dene Rogers, president and chief executive of Sears Canada Inc., in a release.

“This will be done in a responsible manner with a focus on driving customer traffic and profitability.”

The move comes as Canadian retailers brace themselves for a holiday shopping season that’s expected to be as tough — if not tougher — than last year.

A survey released by Deloitte last month suggests that 44 per cent of Canadians plan to spend less this year during the holiday than they did over the past two years, an increase of three per cent over responses last year.

Just over half, about 51 per cent, of responders said they plan to spend the same amount as in the past two years.

Retailers have responded by slashing prices and flogging deals that encourage consumers to bulk up their purchases to save more money. Deep discounts tend to hurt the bottom line because they tighten margins.

Big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco have devoured a significant chunk of business from department stores like Sears as price and convenience swayed consumers from traditional shopping malls.