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.