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P.E.I. shoppers react to news of possible Sears Canada liquidation

Rena Gaudet, left, and Bev Cornish visited the Charlottetown Sears store on Tuesday. They said it was disappointing to hear that the company is seeking to liquidate all of its assets and stores.
Rena Gaudet, left, and Bev Cornish visited the Charlottetown Sears store on Tuesday. They said it was disappointing to hear that the company is seeking to liquidate all of its assets and stores.

Carrying shopping bags while exiting Sears on Tuesday, Bev Cornish of Summerside said it is disappointing to hear that the company is seeking to liquidate its assets, which would include closing the Charlottetown department store permanently.  

“They carry such a wide variety of clothing and housewares and bedding. We have fewer and fewer places on P.E.I. to shop, so it’s disappointing that it’s closing,” she said.

The company announced earlier in the day that it failed to find a buyer that would allow the business to operate for the foreseeable future as a “going concern.”

RELATED: Sears Canada to seek court approval to liquidate all remaining stores

Sears Canada has been operating under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement since June.

The company is expected to put forward a motion on Friday to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List) for approval to liquidate all of its remaining assets.

Cornish made the trip from Summerside with some friends, including Rena Gaudet. After hearing the news, Gaudet said she understands why one of the employees in the store looked upset.

Karen MacKinley also visited the store on Tuesday. She said it was sad to hear that the store was likely closing, but added that she wasn’t surprised.

“Some nights you would come here and there would be nobody in the store,” she said.

The 108,000 square-foot Charlottetown store opened on St. Patrick’s Day in 2005. Then premier Pat Binns and Charlottetown mayor Clifford Lee were on hand for the opening.

Click here to read The Guardian's March 18, 2005, story about Sears opening in Charlottetown

APM Construction Services developed the property and worked with Sears to open the department store, explained the company’s CEO Tim Banks.

“From my understanding, it was always a pretty strong store for them,” he said.

Banks said that news the company was seeking liquidation approval from the court was unfortunate for Sears and its employees.

He added that it was disappointing since Sears was one of APM’s customers. But the store also has a strong location in the city in the Royalty Power Centre off Malpeque Road. Banks said he expects the property, which is owned by Sears, will “fetch a pretty good price” through liquidation.

“I think there will be a lot of people looking to grab that site,” he said.

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Sears Canada is planning liquidation sales no later than Oct. 19 that would continue for 10 to 14 weeks.

The company currently has about 130 stores and approximately 12,000 employees.

In June, it announced the closure of 20 full-line locations, 15 Sears Home stores, 10 Sears Outlets and 14 Sears Home Town locations. In Atlantic Canada, the June announcement closed the Halifax outlet store as well as stores in Dartmouth, Truro, Saint John, Bathurst and Corner Brook.

 

(With files from The Canadian Press)

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