Sears Canada to cut nearly 800 staff in repair parts and service

TORONTO – Sears Canada (TSX:SCC) is laying off nearly 800 employees across its operations as it moves ahead with a multi-year plan to reduce operating costs.

The retailer said Tuesday that most of the cuts would be made in its repair parts and service business, where 712 jobs would be eliminated during the next six months.

Another 79 employees will lose their jobs in the company’s head office, based in Toronto, it said.

The move comes as the retailer looks for more ways to improve its financial results after having earlier sold several department store leases in the face of heightened competition.

Sears Canada plans to contract workers for its repair services for mid-sized markets, although it will still have technicians who work directly for the company in areas it considers “major markets,” it said.

“The changes we are announcing today are being made to bring the structure of our organization in line with the size of our business,” said president and CEO Doug Campbell, who was recently hired to oversee the turnaround effort.

Earlier this month, Sears Canada posted an enlarged net loss of $48.8 million or 48 cents per share — mainly due to severance and restructuring costs. The company said the net loss included $20.2 million for severance and, that filtering out the extra costs, it would have reported a profit.

Sears has already closed some of its big city locations in Western Canada and has announced plans to vacate other large stores, including its flagship downtown Toronto location.

An agreement earlier this month to sell five leases back to mall operators for $400 million and to close a distribution facility in Regina, came with plans to lay off about 1,200 employees.

The company will still have 111 department stores as well as its online and catalogue business.

Sears Canada shares ended the session ahead four per cent, or 73 cents, to $18.98 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.