Sears Canada liquidation sales underway across the country
Published Thursday, October 19, 2017 9:38AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 19, 2017 9:51PM EDT
Everything must go is the mantra at Sears Canada locations across the country as the one-time mainstay of Canada’s retail landscape prepares to close its doors for good.
Liquidation sales at the 64-year-old department store chain began on Thursday, following an ill-fated 18-month-long in-store revival effort that failed to gain traction with consumers.
The final clearance sale will stretch through the busy holiday shopping season, finishing no later than Jan. 21 at 74 full department store locations, eight Sears Home Stores and 49 Sears Hometown stores.
The struggling retailer was given court approval last Friday, to liquidate its assets and close its remaining stores. The company has been operating under court protection from creditors since June.
A company spokesperson said bargain-hunting consumers can expect discounts of up to 50 per cent at department locations, and up to 30 per cent at Sears Home Stores. Discounts will vary at Sears Hometown stores.
The clearance section on the company’s website continues to show more modest discounts.
A joint-venture including Hilco Global, Gordon Brothers Canada, Tiger Capital Group and Great American Group is managing the liquidation sales.
Discounts are available on Sears in-house own brands, including Kenmore, as well as brand name apparel, home decor, toys, furniture, major appliances, and other items throughout the stores.
“Selected fixtures, furnishings and equipment in the closing stores will also be for sale,” the joint-venture group said.
Maureen Atkinson, a senior partner with retail and marketing consulting firm J.C. Williams Group, said broad-based discounts, rather than product specific ones, are the norm for liquidation sales.
“The goal at the end of the day is to have no product left,” she told the Business News Network.
While the discounts may be deep, Atkinson warned that shoppers should not expect to haggle with staff for better deals.
Sears Canada said earlier this week that Wednesday was the last day it will honour extended warranties. Refunds are available only to customers who purchased a product protection agreement in the past 30 days.
“It’s totally not a surprise, because there is nobody to stand behind these warranties once Sears is gone,” Atkinson said. “Let the buyer beware . . . the warranty is only as good as the brand that stands behind it.”
The company said it will continue to accept Sears gift cards and redeem Sears Club Points throughout the liquidation sales. All purchases will be final, and are therefore not eligible for return or exchange.
Atkinson expects Sears’ final holiday shopping season will sting some of the competition that ultimately contributed to its demise, like Walmart and Canadian Tire.
She’s less convinced that a liquidation sales frenzy will cause Canadians to spend more on gifts than in previous years.
“People have in mind what they are going to spend,” she said. “Whether they spend it at Sears or whether they spend it buying at Walmart, that budget is going to be pretty similar.”
Shoppers across Canada flocked to stores looking for deals. But many weren’t exactly impressed.
At Nova Scotia’s last remaining Sears department store in Halifax, people leaving the store told CTV Atlantic that there weren’t many bargains.
“I was in there early and I was disappointed. I thought the percentage should’ve been higher. Just 20 per cent? That more or less covers your tax,” one woman said.
Another shopper said the store was “a little busy but not too crazy.”
“There’s not too many bargains right now. Like, 20 per cent off.”
Others expressed sadness at the end of Sears’ place in the Canadian retail landscape.
“I’ve gone there ever since I was a little girl with my mom, my grandparents, and yes, I think I will miss it,” one woman said.
Another shopped added: “I feel sad. It’s the end of an era.”
Similar discounts of 10 to 20 per cent off were seen at the St. Laurent Centre in Ottawa. One couple said it wasn't clear if there were any deals.
“We shop here regularly but today, I don’t see a change,” one man told CTV Ottawa.
A female shopper suggested that maybe the best deals are yet to come.
“It’s day one, right? So as time goes on we’ll see better deals.”
With files from The Canadian Press