Tears for Sears The rise and decline of a Canadian retail giant

TORONTO — For decades, Sears was a quintessential part of the Canadian shopping experience. Its catalogues adorned coffee tables and its Kenmore-branded appliances were staples in homes for generations. But like Eaton’s and Simpsons before it, Sears has encountered a litany of problems.Here’s a look at the history of Sears Canada:1952 — Simpsons-Sears is founded as a national mail-order business, as part of a partnership between the Robert Simpson Company of Toronto and Sears Roebuck Co. of Chicago.September 1953 — Simpsons-Sears opens its first store in Stratford, Ont.1973 — The company opens its first store under the Sears banner.1978 — Hudson’s Bay Company acquires the Simpson Company. The Simpsons-Sears partnership dissolves.1984 — The company formally changes its name to Sears Canada.1995 — Sears opens its first Sears Whole Home furniture store; later renames the store Sears Home.1998 — The company launches its e-commerce website, becoming one of the first retailers to do so in Canada.1999 — Sears buys the bankrupt chain, The T. Eaton Company Ltd., including all of the flagship department stores in coveted locations like the Toronto Eaton Centre.February 2009 — Sears cuts 300 jobs, less than one per cent of its workforce at the time, to prepare for a “tough” year in retail.June 2011 — Calvin McDonald is named president and CEO of Sears Canada and embarks on a three-year turnaround plan as sales decline and thousands of jobs are cut.2012 — Sears begins selling off leases to its stores in prime locations.September 2013 — McDonald abruptly steps down as president and CEO. Former U.S. naval aviator and retail consultant Douglas C. Campbell takes over as CEO.May 2014 — U.S. parent company Sears Holdings Corp. hints that it’s looking to sell the ailing retailer.September 2014 — Campbell steps down as CEO.October 2014 — Ronald Boire steps in as interim CEO.July 2015 — Boire steps down as CEO. Brandon Stranzl is named executive chairman of Sears Canada.November 2015 — Carrie Kirkman becomes Sears Canada president.July 2016 — Kirkman leaves the role.August 2016 — Sears Canada rebrands logo for the first time in 32 years by adding a maple leaf.December 2016 — The retailer announces plans to venture into the grocery business, saying its signed partnerships with two specialty supermarket operators to run food markets at some of its revamped locations.January 2017 — New Brunswick government gives Sears Canada $8.7 million to open business centres in Edmundston and Saint John. The centres are expected to create 540 new jobs in total.June 13, 2017 — Faced with a cash crunch that’s getting worse, the company announces it is exploring strategic alternatives including a sale.June 22, 2017 — Sears Canada is granted court protection from creditors. It announces plans to close 59 locations across the country and cut approximately 2,900 jobs under a court-supervised restructuring.

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