WATCH: A fixture on the Victoria retail scene will close its doors after 55 years. Sears Canada will be in court on Friday, asking to liquidate all its stores, including the Hillside Mall location. As Mary Griffin reports, customers of the retailer say they’ll be sad to see it go.
Hillside Mall opened in 1962, and after 55 years, one of its original stores will be gone by the end of the year. Customers going into the Hillside Mall location say they are disappointed by the news.
In a statement, Sears Canada said it’s seeking an order to commence a liquidation that would result in a wind-down of its business following court approval. It’s hoping to begin selling off inventory by Oct. 19. After ten weeks, 130 stores will close, putting 12,000 employees out of work across the country.
“I’m surprised it didn’t happen earlier than this. Really, they are stuck in the middle,” Mark Colgate, associate dean at the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business,said. He believes the retailer simply missed the boat in a challenging, changing, retail environment.
“All the other retailers have gone for the other end of the market. Walmart goes for the low end of the market. And then you’ve got specialist retailers who go for the more premium end of the market. So, in the end, you’ve got no-one who really wants to shop there,” Colgate said.
Last month, the company announced a series of closures, including its Nanaimo location. Even die-hard customers are not surprised.
“Sears just didn’t have an offer that people wanted. In terms of the merchandise, in terms of the prices, in terms of the service, in terms of the convenience, online delivery,” Colgate said.
“It just wasn’t there.”
An estimated 110 positions, mostly part-time, will be affected at the Victoria store. The liquidation is estimated to take ten to twelve weeks.