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Sears Canada Inc. ( ) (more commonly referred to as "Sears") is a retailer, headquartered in Torontomarker, Ontariomarker, that operates in all provinces and territories across Canadamarker with a network of 188 corporate stores, 180 dealer stores, 67 home improvement showrooms, 112 Sears Travel offices and a nationwide home maintenance, repair, and installation network. SLH Transport, a freight trucking company and wholly owned subsidiary headquartered in Kingston, Ontariomarker, provides the company with transportation and logistics services and comprises 620 trucks, 3,700 trailers, and 900 associates with terminals located throughout Canada. Sears also has a general merchandise catalogue with over 2,200 catalogue merchandise pickup locations. There is a Sears location within a 10-minute drive of 93% of Canadians. About 50,000 associates are employed throughout the company.

, Sears Holdings Corporation of the United States owns 73.1% of Sears Canada common shares and Pershing Square Capital owns 17.3% of them; the remainder of the shares are publicly traded. As of March 31, 2005, the majority ownership stake was officially transferred to Sears Holdings Corporation (Nasdaq:  SHLD). Sears Holdings is attempting to buy back the outstanding shares of Sears Canada.


On September 26, 2007, Sears Canada announced the sale of its Jarvis Street headquartersmarker to the Province of Ontariomarker. The company will relocate its offices to surplus space at its flagship store in the Toronto Eaton Centremarker. Currently the largest Sears stores are located in Toronto Eaton Centre and Pacific Centre in Vancouver.

Corporate history

Simpsons-Sears

Sears Canada began its operations as Simpsons-Sears Limited, a catalogue and mid-market suburban retailer, in 1952. The company was formed as a joint-venture between the Robert Simpson Company (Simpson's), an existing Canadian department store retailer, and Sears, Roebuck and Company of the United States. The purpose of the joint-venture was to take over the existing Simpson's catalogue operations, and to build new stores in markets that were not already served by existing Simpson's stores, leveraging Sears-Roebuck's strong buying power and organization.

Simpson-Sears Corporate Logo circa 1953


In 1971, the company opened its new head office buildingmarker in downtown Toronto.

In 1973-1974, Simpsons-Sears opened its first stores in metropolitan areas already served by Simpson's (although in suburban areas well away from the downtown Simpson's stores), the first such being in Mississauga, Ontariomarker. So, to avoid confusing customers, these new stores were opened under the Sears banner. All existing Simpsons-Sears stores were rebranded to the Sears banner as well. However the name of the entity remained Simpsons-Sears.

In 1976, Simpsons-Sears inaugurated a Sears store at Galeries d'Anjou, its first location in a mall with a Simpsons store.

Hudson's Bay acquisition of Simpsons

The Hudson's Bay Company acquired Simpsons in 1978. Because of federal competition laws, the Hudson's Bay Company was required to divest itself of its interest in Simpsons-Sears, which had been held by Simpsons, and the chain was formally renamed Sears Canada in 1984. The Hudson's Bay Company eventually merged the remaining Simpsons stores into its the Bay division in 1991, and the Simpsons name has disappeared from Canada's retail landscape. As a result of this move, Sears Canada took over eight former Simpsons and Bay stores and finally gained a major foothold in Toronto.

Sears Whole Home and Sears.ca

In 1995, Sears Canada opened Sears Whole Home furniture stores located in power centres, and renamed them Sears Furniture and Appliances stores in 1999, to reflect the addition of major appliances. In 2003, Sears Canada again renamed their Furniture and Appliances store to Sears Home stores. This change was intended to reflect their broader appeal for customers seeking a one stop experience for re-making their home decor. The stores' product line was expanded to include Home Installed Products and Services such as floor coverings, customer drapery, and other installed home related products in many locations.

In 1998, Sears Canada's website, www.sears.ca became an active channel, allowing customers to order from a selection of over 500 products. By 2001, the website became Canada's most popular retail internet destination with over a million orders placed that year.

Eatons

In 1999, Sears Canada acquired The T. Eaton Company Limited. With this acquisition, Sears Canada acquired some of the assets and the trademark name of the bankrupt chain. For the first time in its history, Sears Canada held the leases to a number of prime downtown locations in Toronto (Eaton Centre and Yorkdale Mall), Vancouver (Pacific Centre), Victoria, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Calgary (all former Eaton's stores), Edmonton (all former Eaton's stores). Sears had intended to obtain the former Eaton downtown Montreal store but lost out to the incumbent Les Ailes de la Mode.

Sears relaunched eatons (with the lowercase "e" logo) in November 2000 as a seven-store upscale mini-brand, with locations in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and Ottawa. This operation was unsuccessful, however, and Sears converted the eatons stores to the Sears brand in 2002. Many said that the eatons stores were too upscale and/or too thinly scattered across the country for the mini-chain to have ever been profitable and worthwhile . The retail environment has changed with more of the population shopping at big box outlets and/or specialty stores squeezing out the middle market which is the base of the traditional department store.

New Chairman and Sears Card

In August 26, 2004, Sears Canada Chairman and CEO Mark A. Cohen's contract was terminated and was replaced by Brent Hollister. Cohen was formerly President of Softlines and Chief Marketing Officer of the US parent Sears.

In 2005, Sears Card financial services was outsourced to JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. with Sears receiving $3 billion CDN for the sale, while Sears points system was retained by the retailer. Sears also paid a special dividend upon the completion of the transaction. CEO Brent Hollister said that the move would allow Sears to refocus on its retail operations; as the chain had been lately relied heavily on its financial services division.

Privatization

In January 2006, Sears Holdings Inc, the parent company and majority shareholder of Sears Canada Inc. made a bid to purchase the remaining shares to take the company private. Sears Canada CEO Brent Hollister and the board opposed the move.

Pertaining to the ongoing attempt of privatization on behalf of its parent company, Sears Holdings Limited; a recent ruling by the Ontario Securities Commission, made in August 2006, has stalled progress on this front. While the ruling does not dispel the future possibility of the privatization of Sears Canada, it does pose a significant obstacle by ruling three major shareholding blocks ineligible to vote as the blocs were given extraordinary privileges by Sears Holdings Limited.

On November 14, 2006 Sears Holdings' move to privatize Sears Canada at a bid of $17.97/share fell through by voting amongst the minority shareholder groups.Currently Sears Holdings owns more than 70% of the total shares of Sears Canada Inc.

Cutting of benefits

On August 27, 2009, Sears Canada informed its 37,000 employees that it would be initiating massive cuts in the employees benefits program. Included in these cuts was a cap on vacation of 4 weeks per year (regardless of length of service), new rules for sick time, reduction of sick time, and changes to the health and dental coverage.

See also



References

  1. "About Sears" - Sears Canada website
  2. A National Institution: The Eaton's Chronology The Globe and Mail. February 19, 2002 (table reprinted by Western Libraries)


External links




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