Sears Canada has announced another round of nationwide store closures, amounting to another major withdrawal of the store’s presence in the country.
The company announced today that it will handover the leases of eight Home stores in Canada to Leon’s Furniture Ltd., the Ontario-based furniture retailer. This includes the stores in Victoria, Abbotsford, Langley, and Sweden Way in Richmond.
Leon’s owns 27 The Brick furniture stores in B.C., but these four locations will be the Leon’s brand’s first stores in the province. The stores sell similar types of merchandise as The Brick and each newly acquired space is slated to undergo a $300,000 to $500,000 retrofit.
The lease for most of the properties will commence on June 1, and the final location secured on July 1. To support Leon’s expansion in B.C., the company will build a state-of-the-art 434,000-square-foot distribution centre for both its Leon’s and The Brick brands.
“This transaction represents a significant opportunity for Leon’s to strengthen its leading position in existing markets around the Greater Toronto Area as well as to enter highly desirable locations in Greater Vancouver,” said Edward Leon, President and Chief Operating Officer of Leon’s, in a statement. “This move brings the Leon’s banner within reach of Canadians coast-to-coast for the first time ever.”
Facing fierce competition and dwindling market share, a number of Sears stores have closed in recent years, including flagship department stores in downtown Vancouver, Calgary, and Ottawa in October 2012.
In Metro Vancouver, Sears department stores remain open at Metropolis at Metrotown, Brentwood Town Centre, Capilano Mall, and Coquitlam Centre.
“We are working on rationalizing our store network to ensure our core store physical footprint is highly productive,” said Brandon Stranzl, Executive Chairman of Sears Canada, in a statement.
“Our focus is on converting each and every customer at stores with less efficient footprints into customers of our more efficient and best performing stores. These actions will drive more business over less square footage, and will make Sears Canada a stronger company.”
The other four closed Sears store are located in Brampton, Etobicoke, and Mississauga in Ontario and Moncton, New Brunswick.
There is speculation that Quebec-based clothing retailer Simons will takeover Sears’ space at Richmond Centre. The retailer opened its first B.C. location at West Vancouver’s Park Royal shopping centre last fall as part of its first phase of its ambitious expansion plans outside of Quebec.