It's Black Thursday in Canada after Sears layoff announcement

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

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.

Comments (28) Add New Comment
Terri Johnson
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.
Rating: +10
“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?
Rating: +12
Dave L.
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.
Rating: +2
H. Ford
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...
Rating: +3
Welcome to reality

This is what its going to be like.

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

Rating: +16
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.
Rating: +10
i just applied at sears for a job in vancouver. How will this effect my chances.
Rating: -1
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.
Rating: +9
Take another look Johnny things are changing check out the clothes one more time.
Rating: -16
I wasn't a lucky one
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.
Rating: +12
12 years of service. I was also terminated yesterday. My staff was shocked. I had a great team working for me. I thought that this would never happen to me. I worked my butt off and got this in return. Too many upper management that don't know what they are doing. They choose the wrong people to dismiss. Sears is a sinking ship. I should be thankful that I have time to find some other job that hopefully that company will appreciate my efforts and dedication. good luck to all those still remaining at Sears. The pressure has been stepped up. Accountability is their favourite word.
Rating: +5
Been there...
Not much consolation to Sears employees who received layoff notices, but I was in the same situation 5 years ago - seemed like the worst situation in the world at the time, but eventually learned that there are far better and more rewarding opportunities beyond Sears...
Rating: +14
I was also terminated yesterday. After 12 years of hard work and dedication, I was dismissed in a matter of about 30 seconds. No reason other than "right sizing". Good luck to those left at Sears. "Accountability"!!! You all know what I mean. The writing is on the wall. Remember Eaton's?
Rating: +4
you're out of business because you're too effing greedy ! simple as that !
Rating: -11
Straight Up
Richard, I can not think of anything more horrifying that retiring from the company I started working for... 40 or 50 years in the same job??? Really?

I have been "laid off" (fired is fired, actually)a couple of times.. and each time I was prompted to look outside my box, to expand my horizons, advance my education.. and the end result has always been better than what I had. I work in the same industry, but my role is significantly different that where I started... I continue to progress, continue to just get better at what I do... and btw, I am 62 yrs and still looking towards the future..and that future does not hold a rocking chair and knitting, I can promise you that.
Every conflict is a blessing in disguise..
Rating: +2
Times are looking bleak in Harper land.
Rating: +7
It's awful that any employee is treated in such harsh ways let alone those that gave decades of faithful service.

Any Corporation like Sears has no loyalty or feel any obligation to any Employee profit and loss is the only driving factor much like a Crack Addict scounrging for their next hit.

Under the Law in Canada Employees are deemed to be 'Servants' & Severance is a Joke at 1 week per year or so.

Corporations often provide the minimum severance as they DEEM & Employees are left to go to Court to prove their Cases for more compensation.

In most cases Employees do not have the financial backing nor the time to go to Court even Small Claims nor the Legal knowledge.

Even if they can afford a Lawyer the small amount in extra Severance negates the economics so most do not go to Court, the Corporation gets off scott free!

Niether the Law nor Coporate 'Values' protect ordinary Canadian Citizens basic Human Righs to earn a living.

Therefore you should seriously reconsider your Employment regardless with a Small or Large Corporate Business.

Explore your own Business or work as a Freelancer at least you are better protected under Business to Business Contract Law.

Rating: +7
one word.......union
Rating: +5
This is yet another step towards Sears closing their doors forever. Today an HR person was overheard giving the same excuse ' right sizing' whatever that means. Unfortunately Sears these days has let all the loyal employee's go and is left with a majority workforce that has no imagination and no mind of their own. Accountability to them means filling in spreadsheets with meaningless facts and numbers that do not relate at all to the reality of what is happening to the business and the customer service at Sears at all!
The same brain washed HR employee also stated today that this layoff of many loyal employee's is good for the company as now we will see the sales grow and after all, she hastened to add, some of the poor folks let go may be happy to spend time with their families etc etc! Give me a break! Never mind that they have just lost their source of income, and any packages they may have been given don't last for ever!I am certain of the fact she will soon change her tune when it happens to her in the next 2 years or so! I can say this because I have worked for the company for 25 years and can see the writing on the wall!
My good wishes to all those who were let go yesterday and I sincerely hope that things work out for you all in the future!
Rating: +10
I could probably do one better than most of you, how about this.... 30 yrs would have occurred officially in April and bingo bango out the back door. After stepping up several times to manage while they shipped in a new one and this is my thanks. The company expects accountability, yet they promote people who have not a clue how to run a business, expect you to let them make mistakes which YOU will be accountable for. I have worked and or run every position in the store know the reports like the back of my hands understnd fully the expectation and for 30 yrs this is my thank you ..... 1 month short of early retirement ... how about that one canada!!!!!! Oh and did I mention this is my second go round in 1983 I was let go due to restructure (The Bramhall report), lost 6 yrs senority and at the very time I faced the firing squad they asked me to start work part-time 91 days later !!!!!! I wanted to believe and at one point I did , the company would be great again but I was fooled one more time. My friends and family are furious, this is suppose to be a family friendly company..... hmmmm let me think....NOT
Rating: +17


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