Sears Canada store closures expected to have little impact on RioCan

By	rdnewsNOW staff and The Canadian Press

Sears Holdings is closing another 20 stores as the distressed department-store chain seeks to stanch the bleeding amid swirling challenges for the retail sector.

The Sears logo is seen on the side of a store March 24, 2005 in San Bruno, California.

The move includes 18 Sears stores and two Kmart stores.

"Sears Holdings continues to actively manage our real estate portfolio to identify additional opportunities for reconfiguration and reduction of capital obligations", Sears said in a statement.

The Illinois-based company shut down a Grand Rapids store in March after a January announcement of nationwide closures. A liquidation sale will begin June 30, while the auto center will be converted to a DieHard Auto Center. The auto centers at both locations will remain open until late July.

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The other six locations are Sears Home stores in Calgary, Toronto and four smaller Ontario cities (Kingston, Orillia, Sudbury, Windsor).

These closures come in addition to the closing of 226 stores - 164 Kmart stores and 62 Sears stores- already announced this year, according to research firm Fung Global & Retail Technology, which tracks retailers' closings.

Sears Canada received court protection from creditors on Thursday and announced a plan to close 59 locations and cut 2,900 jobs.

A "virtual career transition" website will be available in the coming weeks at no cost to employees, said a spokesperson. However, Sears Holdings CEO Eddie Lampert and his ESL Investments hedge fund own an approximate 45% stake in the company. CEO Eddie Lampert has since blasted critics and said Sears is "fighting like hell".

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