After quite the disastrous year as a business and in the news, “The Demise of Sears Canada” has been named the Canadian Press story of the year. Insurance Hunter has been following along for the ride all year, from when the Canadian retailer was laying off employees without severance but giving their executives healthy retention bonuses, to the investigations made into claims that Sears marked up prices during their liquidation sale.
The story won overwhelmingly with 47% of the votes made Canadian journalists in an annual poll of the country's newsrooms conducted by The Canadian Press.
"For many Canadians, Sears is more than a store, it's an institution," said Allan Shifman, managing editor at Yahoo Canada Finance."Add to that the horrible way the retailer wound down... This is a story that resonates with all Canadians, not just the ones tuned into the finance news cycle."
Sears Canada struggled to keep their business afloat in 2017, ultimately failing and entering liquidation mode. Former CEO Brandon Stranzl even stepped down from his role in an attempt at a winning bid to keep the company alive. Since then Stranzl has warned HBC interim CEO not to rely heavily on the upswing in sales they have been seeing since the downfall of Sears.
"I think their business model... fundamentally has to be altered for it to be, you know, successful over a long period of time," Stranzl said. "Consumers just aren't going to shop that way any more."
While 2017, and the empire that was Sears Canada comes to a close, it is unlikely this is the last we will hear of Canada store closures, as companies such as Loblaws and Sobeys have recently announced the closure and lay-off of employees. Despite that bleak outlook, here’s hoping that 2018 remains prosperous for Canadian business!