Sears to close its doors

By Geoff Lee

June 29, 2017 12:00 AM

OUT OF WORK Sears Canada is closing its Lloydminster store, as part of a national restructuring under creditor protection. The closure will put the store's 41 employees out of work. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

Sears’ days are numbered in Lloydminster for their store customers, and 41 employees.
The LloydMall department store is one of 59 stores Sears Canada plans to close across the country, as part of restructuring process that will eliminate 2,900 jobs.
The closure of the LloydMall store will put the local outlet’s 13 full-time and 28 part-time employees out of work.
A Sears Canada spokesperson told the Source in an e-mail that appliance warranties will remain valid nationwide for customers.
The downsizing comes after Sears Canada announced it was granted creditor protection on June 22, under Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA), for an initial period of 30 days.
The company was also granted $450 million in financing to allow it to operate during the restructuring.
As part of that process, the chain will cut 20 full line Sears stores, 15 Sears Home Stores, all 10 outlet stores, and 14 Sears Hometown stores.
The news was not a surprise to LloydMall landlord, Triovest.
“There’s been rumours for some time as it relates to Sears,” said John Crombie, Triovest’s senior vice-president of retail leasing Canada.
“For us as a landlord, we’ve taken very proactive steps to first off talk to Sears, and understand where they are at.”
The specific timing of the store closings has not yet been finalized.
Crombie said it might be indicative of what happened with the closure of Target stores in Canada, including LloydMall, that took just 90-120 days to complete.
“Whether they do the same scenario is yet to be seen,” he said.
He said Triovest has been a “little bit ahead of the curve” as it relates to leasing since they anticipated the closure.
“Knowing we still had a lease in place, we couldn’t do much, but now that might change obviously with the CCAA,” said Crombie.
He said from Triovest’s perspective, they’ll be doing a replacement there quickly, and reconfigure the mall in terms of the retail offerings.
“As much as it’s a negative, we also see there is an upside as it relates to how they can bring in more retailers, and perhaps some more exciting and relevant retailers as well.”
Crombie said unlike Lloyd, some landlords in Canada hate to lose an anchor like Sears with no available replacement.
“We are sure there are replacements in terms of Lloyd, so we’re excited that a new future unfolds for LloydMall,” said Crombie.
Crombie said it’s very difficult to see such an icon department store like Sears go down.
Sears continues to face a very challenging environment with recurring operating losses and negative cash flows from operating activities in the last five fiscal years, with net losses beginning in 2014. 
Crombie said it’s probably indicative of the competitive retail landscape these days, and how tough it is for department stores.
“The department store and apparel have been dramatically impacted over the last while across the country, so I think Sears is unfortunately feeling the pinch of that,” he said.
Sears Canada reported a first quarter loss of $144 million on June 13, although Crombie said from Triovest’s perspective, the Lloyd store was doing well.
“They were serving Lloydminster very well in terms of the local community,” he said.

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