Hundreds of Maritimers to lose jobs as Sears closes remaining stores
Sears Canada Inc. has announced it is seeking approval to liquidate its remaining stores in Canada, taking thousands of jobs with it.
Sears has already closed 59 stores and will now close another 11, with liquidation sales starting Oct. 19 and lasting 10 to 14 weeks. Two remaining stores in New Brunswick will close, along with one apiece in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Hundreds of employees will lose their jobs at two call centres in New Brunswick. More than 500 positions were created between Saint John and Edmundston with the help of $8.6 million in provincial funding.
Besides the four department store closures, seven smaller hometown stores and 25 pickup locations will also be affected.
It was a sombre tone inside the Dieppe location on Tuesday, where many employees have worked for decades.
“I suppose that's life, but it’s a shame,” says Dieppe resident Florence Dupuis. “When I moved here in '71, they were not even here. They were a little store on Main Street, then they were the biggest store in town. You could get anything you wanted, and the service was very, very good.”
Linda Boudreau watched as locations in Bathurst and Miramichi closed down, so she made the long drive to Moncton with her family when they wanted to do their shopping.
“I feel very disappointed about it,” she says. “It's a Canadian store, and it was good for the economy in New Brunswick.”
For the older demographic, who Sears seemed to be catering to, it will be a big change as they seek new retailers to meet their needs. But it will also have a major impact on shopping malls.
“There are only certain retailers that are cornerstones of malls. Sears has always been one of those,” says Saint Mary’s University professor Ed McHugh. “Target is gone, Eaton is gone, Sears is gone, Zellers is gone, so all those big retail chains that anchored malls, they've all disappeared.”
McHugh also says for every Sears store that goes down as an anchor store, it'll take eight to 10 retailers to fill that space, and there are very few retailers that can come in and fill that big entity.
Just after the news the store will be closing and dozens losing their jobs, Sears is now bringing out the 'now hiring' sign, looking to bring in seasonal employees as the store tries to sell off as much as it can in the next 14 weeks.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Cami Kepke and Heather Butts.