National News

Sears considering selling its Canadian operations

A Sears customer call centre is shown in Montreal, Thursday, January 16, 2014. Sears is considering selling its Canadian operations. The retailer said that it is looking at strategic options for its 51 per cent interest in Sears Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz -
A Sears customer call centre is shown in Montreal, Thursday, January 16, 2014. Sears is considering selling its Canadian operations. The retailer said that it is looking at strategic options for its 51 per cent interest in Sears Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
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By The Canadian Press

TORONTO - U.S.-based Sears is considering selling its Canadian operations.

The American retailer, which runs its namesake stores and Kmart locations, said that it's looking at strategic options for its 51 per cent interest in Sears Canada.

The Illinois-based company said Wednesday this includes the possible sale of its stake or the entirety of Sears Canada.

Sears Canada said it has been informed of the strategic review by Sears Holdings.

"Sears Canada's board and management intend to co-operate fully with Sears Holdings in this process to achieve value for all shareholders," Sears Canada said in a news release on Wednesday.

Sears Canada spokesman Vincent Power said the announcement is an ownership matter and doesn't affect the running of Sears Canada stores.

"It's business as usual for us, and we are continuing to serve Canadian families coast to coast through our stores and our direct channels," Power said in an email.

"This morning's announcement is an ownership matter, not an operational matter, and our focus is on meeting the needs of Canadians for themselves and their homes," he said.

Sears Canada is in the midst of a three-year turnaround plan that intensified when the company began a more aggressive reduction of staff aimed at lowering expenses.

Over the past year, Sears Canada has sold leases to some of its most prominent locations, many of which will reopen as upscale Nordstrom department stores within the next two years.

Sears Canada has said it isn't interested in stocking high-priced runway styles and lavish decor and will go after middle-class shoppers.

Since January, the company has announced it will chop 2,200 employees from its payroll, on top of thousands more that it laid off last year. The retailer is trying to reduce costs and improve its overall business. Last year, the company made a similar round of cuts that has lowered its overall employee count to around 20,000 people.

Sears Canada also plans to invest $30 million over the next two or three years. The money will go towards a new inventory management system to replace infrastructure that has fallen behind many of its competitors.

The new technology will provide a clearer picture of what's on shelves at each store, while the company also has other plans underway to enhance its website for a better online shopping experience.

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