Sears Canada Sets 624 Job Cuts

Move affecting stores associates follows elimination of nearly 1,600 nonstore posts earlier in month.

Sears Canada will shed another 624 jobs in an elimination of middle-level managers in its full-line stores.

The cuts, which follow the elimination earlier this month of 1,583 jobs due to reductions in its logistics operations and the outsourcing to IBM of positions in its customer contact centers, will result in an average decrease of five associates per store across its network of full-line stores in Canada. In total, Sears Canada has 181 “corporate” stores, but not all are considered full-line. Additionally, it has 241 Hometown stores and more than 1,400 catalogue and online merchandise pickup locations.

“Our current structure results in inefficiencies and barriers to effective communication among store associates, and the changes we are making are designed to result in better store execution and consistency of presentations and standards,” said Doug Campbell, president and chief executive officer of Sears Canada Inc. “We continue to plan for the future of Sears Canada and are taking steps today that will allow us to continue serving customers as a viable national retailer coast to coast in stores and through our direct channel now and in the future.”

Sears Holdings Corp. has a 51 percent stake in Sears Canada.

Layoffs and terminations — frequently but not always executed in combination with store closings — have been mounting in the retail sector as stores look for ways to adjust to disappointing traffic and sales and eroding margins in the fourth quarter. Target Corp. last week said it would cut 475 position in its offices around the world and leave another 700 open positions unfilled. J.C. Penney Co. Inc., struggling to effect a turnaround in a tight market, said on Jan. 15 that it would close 33 underperforming stores in 20 states at a cost of 2,000 jobs.

On Jan. 8, Macy’s Inc. unveiled plans to close five stores and eliminate about 2,500 jobs as it disclosed that its comparable sales for the November-December holiday period, excluding licensed department, had risen 3.6 percent. Macy’s said it expects its year-end head count to remain unchanged at 175,000 employees as hirings in growing areas of its business, such as its fulfillment centers, compensate for the loss of other positions.