It's Black Thursday in Canada after Sears layoff announcement

1,600 get pink slips with same-day Best Buy, Future Shop chops

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      It’s a Black Thursday for retail workers in Canada, with 1,600 of them getting layoff notices with their morning coffee.

      Struggling Sears Canada will lay off 700 workers nationwide, it announced in a news release Thursday (January 31).

      More than half of those affected work in department stores, with the rest coming from distribution centres and head office, spokesman Vince Power said in a statement.

      About 200 of the job losses will be split between Belleville, Ontario, and Regina, Saskatchewan, distribution centres, with similar operations in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver also taking hits. Department stores across the country should see a couple of cuts each.

      "The reductions are spread pretty well across the country, as far as geography is concerned," Power said in an email. He said that the layoffs were part of an "initiative to right-size the organization".

      The announcement came the same day that Best Buy and Future Shop announced the closure of 15 stores in Canada, including one in Surrey, with the total loss of 900 jobs.

      Sears Canada, through majority owner Sears Holding Corp., operates more than 460 corporate department and local dealer stores nationwide, as well as numerous pick-up locations and showrooms.

      The company, which is in the middle of a three-year restructuring plan, has been fighting slumping revenue as well as an aggressive expansion of Canadian presence by Wal-Mart and Target stores.

      Target Corporation, which took over Canadian store sites previously operated by Zellers Inc., plans to open 125 stores in 2013 starting in March, with 18 located in British Columbia, including one in Metropolis at Metrotown. The retail giant runs 1,764 stores in the U.S.

      Wal-Mart Canada announced on January 22 that it would expand its presence in this country by the end of January 2014 to 388 stores from 379 and invest about $450 million in new and existing projects.

      Sears announced in January 2012 that it was closing in-house restaurants, with a loss of 400 jobs, and 480 Sears call-centre jobs got outsourced to the Philippines in early 2009.

      In 2012, Sears sold back major stores in Vancouver, Calgary, and Ottawa to landlord Cadillac Fairview Corp Ltd., and CFO Sharon Driscoll announced her surprise resignation the day before Christmas just past.

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      Terri Johnson

      Jan 31, 2013 at 5:52pm

      Are we really surprised? Our federal government made it easier for us to do our shopping in the US by increasing the duty free allowance. Finance Minister Flaherty had the gall to call it an effort to stimulate the Canadian economy and Canadians bought in. Where do you spend your money? Our dollar is the most powerful vote we have.


      Jan 31, 2013 at 5:54pm

      “Right-sized”? That's one of those HR euphemisms that just means management doesn't have a rat's-ass clue what it's doing, right?

      Dave L.

      Jan 31, 2013 at 6:15pm

      I was "Downsized" or "Right Sized" or just plain old "Laid Off" 15 years ago , in any event I lost my job after 15 years of solid service, it was a heartbreak that we went through and did survive , but boy oh boy it was frightening.
      The world has changed and not for the better in my view ,BUT life does go on, Good luck all.

      H. Ford

      Jan 31, 2013 at 8:06pm

      Ditto as Dave L. Laid off after 22 years of being consistently a top performer in my department. Job sent to the States. After a year and a half I finally got something with benefits (mighty rare nowadays) but I am now getting paid what I got in 1993. Am glad I got that.
      Life will find a way... Good luck out there...


      Jan 31, 2013 at 8:21pm

      Welcome to reality

      This is what its going to be like.

      No such thing as retiring from the company you first started working for.



      Jan 31, 2013 at 9:19pm

      At the end of the day, its a corporation and that means that it will always do what it needs to do to survive: at any cost.


      Jan 31, 2013 at 9:33pm

      i just applied at sears for a job in vancouver. How will this effect my chances.


      Jan 31, 2013 at 10:06pm

      hopefully they lay off all the lazy employees who scowl any time they are forced to actually deal with a customer.

      if they sold clothes that werent so dumpy and only fit for a grandma, then maybe they would make some money.

      The only thing I ever buy at Sears is underwear and appliances.


      Feb 1, 2013 at 2:50am

      Take another look Johnny things are changing check out the clothes one more time.

      I wasn't a lucky one

      Feb 1, 2013 at 3:45am

      21 one years of service, Sears was my first real job, I have given them half my life, and in a 2 minute sit down I was told I was no longer needed. There was no reason or "a how" on who got picked, just 700 random people. People should be worried about the 29,000 that still work for Sears, because soon, all of them will be looking for work.