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Sears Canada Sells Two Stores to Raise $191M

Company sees chance to raise money but not change strategic plans.

Sears Canada Inc. is turning to its store base to raise more than $191 million.

The company, which has 181 of its corporate stores, said it reached an agreement with Oxford Properties Group and Alberta Investment Management Corp, giving the shopping center owners the right to have Sears vacate two stores by March 31.

The transaction is set to close June 24 and covers stores at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto and Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga.

Sears also agreed to sell an option on a third store at the nearby Scarborough Town Centre for $1 million. That will give the shopping center firms the right to buy the propertywithin five years for $53 million.

Associates at all the stores will be offered Sears jobs elsewhere in the Toronto area.

“The possible release of select assets is an initiative we have previously proposed as a way to create total value for the company,” said Calvin McDonald, president and chief executive officer of Sears Canada. “When transactions such as this become available, we must evaluate the trading value of a store compared to the value of the proposal, and make the appropriate decision in assessing the best long-term benefit for the company. In this case, we were presented with an opportunity that gives us a significant financial benefit without changing our plans to improve the business and make Sears more relevant to Canadians.”