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Sears Canada closes its final stores after months-long liquidation


The few remaining Sears Canada stores closed their doors for good on Sunday.

The longtime staple of Canada's retail landscape declared bankruptcy last year and announced in the fall that it would liquidate its remaining stores, leaving 15,000 people out of work.

Sales began in October, and only a fraction of the retailer's locations across Canada remained open to the bitter end.

The chain's closure sparked a number of controversies.

Sears Canada planned to dole out millions of dollars in retention bonuses to head office staff, while grappling with a more than $260-million shortfall in its pension plan.

The company originally wanted to pay a total $7.6 million to 43 top employees, but revised that to a total of $6.5 million to 36 employees after a backlash.

An Ontario judge approved the reduction, but some employees argued it was still too much money given the company was also facing a 19 per cent pension plan funding shortfall, meaning employees would likely see a similar cut to their benefits.

And a plan by executive chairman Brandon Stranzl that would see the company continue to operate was rebuffed in favour of liquidation, prompting further questions about whose interests were being prioritized.

Sears Canada's closure follows in the footsteps of other big-box retailers in Canada, including Target and Zellers.

The Canadian Press

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