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Sears Canada (1952-2017)

  • Thread starter CanadianNational
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who said malls were going to disappear by 2020? oh admiral, yeah alot of people shop online... and alot more shop in the stores... theres a reason for that... its entertainment...

There is also people who enjoy touching stuff before they buy them. That too is entertainment. It is more exciting to touch stuff before buying them than it is to receive stuff from a box, which has no guarantee that the items are undamaged.
I think skylyte means "moving into Sears' space" at Yorkdale when there is an expansion underway. Why move into someone's leftovers when you can be the anchor of a new wing?

Are any other significant US department stores thinking of jumping the fence? Macy's? Saks? One of them might fit nicely into the spot.
I think skylyte means "moving into Sears' space" at Yorkdale when there is an expansion underway. Why move into someone's leftovers when you can be the anchor of a new wing?

Are any other significant US department stores thinking of jumping the fence? Macy's? Saks? One of them might fit nicely into the spot.

Skylte means - I think - what will happent o Sears in more middle class malls like STC. The space (like the former Eaton's Space at yorkdale) will probably be subdivided as he or she doesn't think Nordstrom will want to locate into malls like STC and Square ONe.
Indeed if the rumours are correct that Nordstrom turned down OMERS because to get Yorkdale they wanted them to take Square One as well and they didn't want Square One.
Indeed if the rumours are correct that Nordstrom turned down OMERS because to get Yorkdale they wanted them to take Square One as well and they didn't want Square One.

I think I read a subsequent report to this somewhere stating that Nordstrom would be moving into Sears' Yorkdale and Fairview locations, pending CF and Oxford negotiations with Sears for the leases.
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IMO, Sears Canada as we know it will be gone by end of 2014. The value of Sears is not in its real estate holdings or leased mall locations, but is in its brands (Die Hard batteries, Kenmore appliances and service/support, Craftsman tools, Discover credit card, Allstate insurance, Lands End, etc.)

Sears Canada will divest itself of its real estate and leased properties, abandon the malls, and for fashion concentrate on e-commerce via its Lands End brand. Furniture will only be sold through the Sears Home centres. Craftsman tools are already being sold via Costco, and Consumers Reports suggests that Kenmore may follow, see DieHard batteries will soon follow.

Mark my words, Sears Canada as an anchor store in malls is toast. The whole concept is toast. My family buys everything except food on-line or at Costco or other stand-alone stores (vs. malls). By 2020 the Eaton Centre and other big malls will be in big trouble.

I could see Sears divesting themselves of all their downtown stores as they were never traditionally a downtown department store anyway. And now that some malls like Yorkdale and Sherway are going upmarket, I could also see them divesting themselves of these locations as well. Ultimately I think they will be around for a while at the mid range malls like Markville and STC.

I doubt malls will be in trouble by 2020. Unlike the US, the Canadian market is not saturated with shopping malls. Hardly any new malls have been built (in the GTA) specifically in the last few years. Vaughn Mills is the last net-new mall that I can recall. At the end of the day, people will still go to shopping malls provided they sell the goods that they are looking for.

I wonder what will happen to Sears stores in malls like STC? If/when Sears shutters up, the space would probably be subdivided again and made into more retail space/food courts, like Yorkdale. I can't see a high-end store like Nordstrom moving in, but it could finally provide an opportunity for the long rumored entry of JC Penney and Kohl's into Toronto.

I could definitely see JC Penny/Dillards/Kohl's or even Macy's move in to the suburban Sears stores should they fold up.

It can also present an opportunity for a Super Target location (such as Yorkdale, when the Zellers at nearby Lawrence Square closes).

I'd be shocked to see a Target open at Yorkdale. Just doesn't fit in with the direction Oxford is taking the mall. This is even why we are seeing CF try to buy Sears out of their lease to make room for Nordstrom, because even they don't fit in anymore.

Since when does Yorkdale exclude discount or value-priced retailers?

They've got Children's Place, which on their own websites proclaims to "sell fashionable, high-quality merchandise at value prices," which is basically a small Winners store.

Yorkdale will follow the dollar, and if it makes sense to take in Target they will.

I guarantee you, as sales PSF go up with the new tenants, so will rents. And we will subsequently see a lot of stores like Childrens Place not renew their leases at Yorkdale thus making room for more high end retail in the mall.
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Calvin McDonald: Putting one foot in front of the other
October 19, 2012
The Globe and Mail

As he attempts to push Sears Canada back on track, the triathlete may have taken on his biggest challenge yet

Calvin McDonald wouldn't even shop at Sears.

Indifferent to its offerings, he was far from alone among Canadian consumers to bypass the stores. But he wasn't just any would-be customer: At the time, he was being recruited to take the reins at the ailing department store retailer.

Mr. McDonald initially rejected the idea, feeling he wasn't ready for such a high-stakes test of his merchandising mettle. But then he reconsidered, thinking he could fix the missteps and revive the patient. Within a month, he stepped into one of Canada's toughest retailing roles, abandoning in mid-2011 the relative security of his senior executive job at grocery titan Loblaw Cos. Ltd.

"I think a lot of people saw it as a no-win situation," he said, after slipping into a booth at the Joey Eaton Centre restaurant in Toronto, just steps from the Sears Canada Inc. flagship store and ground zero of the retail battle zone where foreign rivals want to lay claim to his space for their own store. "I believe the business can be successful."

The risk is that he left a safe job where he had been on the fast track. If he turns around Sears, he will have beaten the odds; if he doesn't, he will have gained valuable CEO experience and positioned himself, perhaps, for a leadership role elsewhere.

As Doug Stephens, president of Retail Prophet Consulting, put it: "It's a no-lose situation, in the sense that, if he fails, I don't think anyone is going to blame the guy who wasn't able to resurrect Sears because a lot of people thought that was an unachievable goal in the first place. If he succeeds, my gosh, he is a genius."

Mr. McDonald, an avid triathlete and marathon runner who turns 41 next month, faces enormous hurdles in repairing a retailer whose sales and profits have slid annually since 2006, posting a $60.1-million loss in 2011. Department stores are racing to reinvent themselves. Archrival Hudson's Bay Co. this week confirmed its plans to go public soon in a bid to step up its makeover. U.S. competition will intensify soon from discounter Target Corp. and upscale Nordstrom Inc.

The Sears CEO's decision to exit three of his prime stores this month in a $170-million deal with their landlord, which opened the way for Nordstrom to move in, raises the stakes further as the U.S. retailer still hankers after Sears' prized Toronto Eaton Centre outlet.

To fight the burgeoning forces, Mr. McDonald has borrowed from the Loblaw transformation playbook, which he helped to spearhead, of returning to its roots and refocusing on private-label strengths. At Sears, he is concentrating on "hero" categories of appliances and mattresses, which the Bay has largely abandoned, and private-label lines, including Jessica fashions and Kenmore appliances. He's pumping up his more promising departments, such as men's clothing, women's dresses and children's products. He has lowered prices and loosened Sears' return policy.

A wild card in Mr. McDonald's turnaround efforts is U.S. hedge fund manager Edward Lampert, the controlling shareholder of parent Sears Holdings Corp. Struggling with overall weak results, he has started selling Sears store leases and other assets. By the end of this year, the parent will trim its stake in the Canadian division to 51 per cent from about 95 per cent. Analysts speculate Sears Canada is ripe to be snapped up by a foreign player.

What exactly is Mr. Lampert's end-game? "I don't know," Mr. McDonald said quietly.

It's one of the few silent moments during a three-hour lunch in which the Sears CEO was brimming with ideas on his vision, the wider merchandising landscape and his own retail journey. He was catching his breath after a busy morning that started with him taking one of his four children – his six-year-old son – to a 6:30 a.m. hockey practice.

Gearing up to run the Chicago Marathon that coming weekend, Mr. McDonald ordered a protein-and-carb combo of steak and sushi. He was taking a "rest" in his prerace training, having cut his weekly running almost in half, to 48 kilometres.

His sprint to revitalize Sears is an even more all-consuming pursuit as he focuses on motivating what has been a demoralized staff to execute his battle plan. "I probably haven't wanted anything more in my life."

After having been approached by a recruiter in the spring of 2011 about taking the Sears job, he sought advice from his wife and father-in-law, David Williams, then the interim CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. and a former Loblaw executive. It didn't take long for Mr. Williams, who remains on Shoppers' board of directors, to suggest that Mr. McDonald take the riskier path.

"When everybody is betting against you, it brings out the best in you," Mr. Williams, whom his son-in-law calls his mentor, said in an interview. "It's a good fit for him today and it will be a big part of taking him to where he goes tomorrow."

Mr. McDonald is now at the helm of a company that racks up less than 15 per cent of Loblaw's sales. But he'll be able to make more of a mark at Sears, and then get on recruiters' Rolodexes for a potentially bigger CEO job in the future Mr. Williams suggested.

Mr. McDonald said he was tempted by the opportunity to broaden his retail leadership skills beyond the grocery sector, while applying his Loblaw lessons to Sears.

Even as a teenager, he had wanted to solve problems. He aspired to be a homicide detective but when he applied to the Ontario Provincial Police, he was rejected for still living at his parents' home.

He worked at part-time jobs through university, including stocking shelves and pushing carts at the local Loblaws in his hometown of London, Ont. "I'd be out in the parking lot in my big orange Loblaw parka, and colleagues and students would be walking by. ... It was tough work." He resolved then to pave the way for an easier life for his own children.

At the University of Western Ontario, he dated the daughter of Mr. Williams, but didn't tell him when he applied for a "senior pricing integrity analyst" job at Loblaw in his last year of undergraduate science studies.

At Loblaw, Mr. McDonald moved up the ranks, working over the years with Galen G. Weston, scion of the wealthy family that controls the grocer and, today, its executive chairman and the face of Loblaw in its advertising. "I felt a friendship to him, even though we didn't interact socially," Mr. McDonald said. "He was very personable, a great historian of Loblaw and food and the bakery business. He was a confidant. The two of us respected each other."

Still, the two men have not spoken since Mr. McDonald told Mr. Weston he was leaving, after 18 years with Loblaw in a meeting that lasted just a few minutes. "I felt my loyalty was challenged when, in reality, I felt that 18 years of 120 per cent is all businesses should ask for in terms of loyalty."

At Sears, Mr. McDonald takes inspiration from the Loblaw boss, who is a year younger, by appearing in the department store's new Look Report, a chatty take on Sears' fashions which evokes memories of Loblaw's iconic Insider Report.

With a penchant for fashion, Mr. McDonald is a poster boy for Sears' young-minded target customer looking for cooler styles. In the current Look Report, he is featured in a photo clad in a sports jacket and rolled-up jeans over boots; in the upcoming holiday edition, he will appear in a festive velvet blazer, tartan shirt and bow tie.

His broader initiatives are showing small signs of taking off. Amid weak second-quarter results, Sears' sales gained in major appliances and mattresses.

The CEO makes a point of walking store aisles: In late August, he took three of his four children shopping at the downtown store. He noticed improvements, but the shelves were light on coloured denims and khakis for boys. He reported back to his staff.

"The message to the team is: 'We haven't arrived. We still have a long way to go.'"



Born in London, Ont., his parents divorced when he was four; he lived mostly with his mother, a legal office manager, and stepfather, a delivery truck driver; his father was an executive at 3M.


He lives in Toronto with his wife Andrea and four children (three boys, aged six, nine and 11; and a two-year-old daughter).

His father-in-law is David Williams, director and former chairman of Shoppers Drug Mart Corp., a former Loblaw executive, and a mentor to Mr. McDonald.


1994: Bachelor of science from the University of Western Ontario.

2000: MBA from University of Toronto.


Spent 18 years at Loblaw, culminating in his 2011 appointment as executive vice-president of the grocer's conventional division.

Appointed president and CEO of Sears Canada in June, 2011.


Long-distance running and cycling; has competed in many triathlons and is a two-time Ironman finisher.

Ran the Chicago Marathon this month in three hours and 12 minutes, beating his goal by three minutes.

Runs daily, one way, from his home in Toronto's Leaside neighbourhood to his office (10 kilometres) and drives the other way.
Will the struggling Sears Canada stores be saved this Christmas?
Marc Weisblott

Published: October 22, 2012, 10:30 am

So, will its battle be over even before Target launches in this country next spring?

An air of resignation was already projected in a recent Globe and Mail profile of Calvin McDonald, who was tapped to turn around the department store chain last year, after an 18-year stint with supermarket chain Loblaw.

So, even if his new role as chief executive at Sears does not work out as hoped, McDonald will be on the radar for bigger opportunities in the future.

David Williams, the interim Shoppers Drug Mart CEO who happens to be his father-in-law, was quoted saying as much.

Just in case there was any doubt about his resolve, though, McDonald asserted his dedication to a store he admitted to having no interest in shopping at beforehand: “I probably haven’t wanted anything more in my life.”

The ambition might remain difficult to find at the Sears locations across Canada. But there is apparently a renewed focus on selling appliances and mattresses, which have become less of a priority at department store rival The Bay.

Meanwhile, a U.S. retailer that has followed Target into expanding north will be taking over three of its major mall spaces. Nordstrom, a more upscale operation that started in Seattle in 1901, will eventually move into the Chinook Centre in Calgary, the Rideau Centre in Ottawa and the Pacific Centre in Vancouver. Those locations will close at the end of this month.

The flagship store of the Toronto Eaton Centre, which was turned into an anachronistic Sears a decade ago, is considered to be next on the Nordstrom shopping list. McDonald’s strategy for fending it off includes making himself the fashionable 40-year-old face of Sears, not unlike his former colleague Galen G. Weston at Loblaws.

With about 30,000 employees, at around 120 remaining stores, there is enough pressure for the new guy to get new customers through the door.
The problem for Sears, it would seem, is whether anyone would actually think of going to Sears upon deciding to make every day a great day.

Sears Canada launches dramatic new rebrand
Francine Kopun
Business Reporter
7 November 2012

Sears Canada launched a bouncy new rebrand on Wednesday morning, aimed at wooing back old customers and winning new ones using a mix of nostalgia and emotion.

The new tag line is Make Every Day a Great Day, and plants Sears firmly in the space discount retailer Target hopes to occupy when it opens its first stores in Canada in the spring.

The new campaign uses humour and emotion to reach out to customers.

Sears is celebrating 60 years in Canada. The new commercial features snippets of home movies submitted by Sears associates and plays on the relationship Sears has enjoyed in Canada as a general merchandise department store, selling everything from lawnmowers to lingerie, hockey sticks, hula hoops and bar stools.

The Sears logo isn’t revealed until the end of the ad, after a question pops up on the screen: “Today is a gift. What will you do with it?”

“When we started thinking about how we were going to refresh our position and talk to our customers, we really started with looking at what we sell,” said CEO Calvin McDonald, who took over the faltering retailer in 2011.

“We sell more wants than needs. What wants deliver is inspiration and emotion, happiness, and that was really the emotion we focused on for our brand and tag line.

“A lawnmower isn’t about cutting grass, it’s about making a soccer field . . . a toaster isn’t just a toaster, it makes a great morning.”

McDonald said he wanted to make the tag line a rallying cry for associates for delivering great service to customers.

The Sears logo will remain basically the same, although the blue has been lightened and a new font, designed uniquely for the rebrand, will replace the older one.

McDonald rolled out the new brand to associates at the Sears Eaton Centre location on Wednesday morning before the store opened for business.

Target has built strong success in the U.S. by focusing on a bright and fun customer experience and great prices for unique goods.

“I think this is a very different campaign, and very different position and tone. The tag is different, the tone, humour and emotion is different. Our service model is different, I think our value proposition is different,” said McDonald.

The campaign was created by the Unitas Reputation Agency, which began working with Sears in May.
Well, if you don't own a TV and walk through the Eaton Centre Sears store every day on your way home like I do, you won't even notice that "bouncy new rebrand"... It's about time they were bounced right out of there.
Well, if you don't own a TV and walk through the Eaton Centre Sears store every day on your way home like I do, you won't even notice that "bouncy new rebrand"... It's about time they were bounced right out of there.

They definitely don't belong in the Eaton Centre. Such a waste of good retail space.
Are Sears Canada’s days numbered? Poor results could have U.S. retailers circling soon

National Post
Hollie Shaw | Jan 8, 2013 6:24 PM ET | Last Updated: Jan 9, 2013 9:12 AM ET

TORONTO — With news from its U.S. parent about lower sales and operating earnings at Sears Canada in the critical holiday quarter, the future looks increasingly grim for the Canadian department store chain as rival Target Canada gets ready to open stores here in two months.

Fourth quarter adjusted earnings before taxes, depreciation and amortization at Sears Canada will be about half the level of last year’s fourth quarter of US$97-million, Sears Holdings said, results confirmed by the Canadian unit. Same-store sales, a key measure of retail performance, slid 5.8% in the nine weeks ended Dec. 29.

The news comes two weeks after the abrupt exit of Sears Canada’s chief financial officer Sharon Driscoll and as multiple U.S. retailers are eyeing the Canadian market for highly sought after retail space.

Sears Canada has been exiting unproductive outlets and selling leases back to landlords to make way for new entrants such as Nordstrom in 2014, but the company’s bid to revamp its outlets may have put it more directly into Target’s path than it was before.

“[CEO] Calvin McDonald has been moving Sears to a more contemporary image in Canada that is head-on with Target,” said Wendy Evans, president of retail consultancy at Evans & Co. Consultants Inc. “He has done a great job improving the assortment, but the challenge is to move that much merchandise and change that many stores in the little time as he has had. It is a huge challenge.”

Poor results just make Sears Canada a more likely candidate for retailers who are keen to enter or expand in this market, she added, saying the company occupies many sought-after locations that could be of interest to Nordstrom or Macy’s. “There are so many U.S. retailers who are looking to come up and they can’t find space.”

Mr. McDonald has been implementing sweeping changes to the company’s merchandise lineup, store layout, pricing structure and marketing, but acknowledged in November that the pace of execution on his turnaround plan was slower than expected.

.“It is hard to tell what is going to happen and it would be sad to see them [exit the market completely], but I think they are just getting strangled,” said Maureen Atkinson, a retail consultant at J.C. Williams Group in Toronto.

Last year Sears sold three stores in Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa back to landlord Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd. for $170-million, and she predicted Sears will continue selling more locations selectively.

When asked whether it intends to sell more stores, Mr. McDonald said his “intent is to trade and remain a retailer in Canada. We continue to evaluate how we do that, in which formats, and in which locations to create the best value for our shareholders.”

Sears Canada’s preliminary numbers — the company’s fourth quarter wraps up at the end of January — are particularly disappointing given they are held up in comparison to a weak 2011 fourth quarter, when revenue fell 6.4% to $1.4-billion and same-store sales sank 7.4%.

Operating EBITDA fell to $98.5-million from $132.6-million in the same period of 2010 and net earnings were $38.7-million, or 36¢ a share, compared with $82.7-million (77¢) in the prior year. The retailer cut its net loss in half in the third quarter, but sales fell.

“By no means are we pleased with the [results],” Mr. McDonald said in an interview. Weather was warmer than expected across the country, but “I do not want to blame weather for our results. It is a fact and a challenge with retail … We don’t have enough balance yet that we can absorb some of the things we can’t control with the things we do.”

A reduction in electronics also had an impact on the quarter, but apparel and toy sales fared better.

The company’s transformation plan is still on track for the end of fiscal 2014, but Mr. McDonald did not disclose whether he expects the company to be profitable by then. Final fourth-quarter and year-end results will be made public on Feb. 27. Sears Canada has seen its annual sales and profits fall since 2006.

The retailer’s shares fell 3% Tuesday.

The news of the Canadian unit’s performance came as Sears Holdings Corp. reported the exit of its chief executive late Monday due to family medical reasons. Its chairman, Edward Lampert, is taking on the role of CEO in addition to his current role.

Last year, the company spun off a large chunk of its Sears Canada shares to its own shareholders, taking its holdings in the Canadian unit to about 51% from 96%. Mr. Lampert has a 27% stake in Sears Canada.