Sears to close Richmond Centre store

Sears Canada will close its Richmond Centre store by Feb. 28, 2015. - Matthew Hoekstra photo
Sears Canada will close its Richmond Centre store by Feb. 28, 2015.
— image credit: Matthew Hoekstra photo

Sears Canada will close its Richmond Centre store in 2015, the company announced Tuesday.

It's one of five stores slated to close under a lease termination agreement expected to be finalized in two weeks.

Under the agreement, Sears will vacate the Richmond Centre store, co-owned by Ivanhoé Cambridge and Cadillac Fairview, by Feb. 28, 2015. Sears has operated the store since 1989.

Doug Campbell, Sears Canada's president and CEO, said the company was "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."

"Our primary focus of creating long-term value for the company is best approached by focusing on the basics of the business and continuing to become more relevant with Canadian consumers coast to coast," he said in a news release Tuesday.

The other four stores slated to close are located in Ontario. Sears will continue to operate 111 full-line department stores following the closures.

Sears employs 965 workers across all five stores. They'll have a chance to apply for positions at other Sears locations "which could become available during the transition period," according to the release.

"I want to acknowledge the effect that this announcement will have on our Sears associates. I appreciate the service they have given to Sears, and I thank them in advance for their assistance during the transition period ahead of us," said Campbell.

As for the future of the two-level Richmond Centre space, Cadillac Fairview spokesperson Janine Ojah-Maharaj said the firm is "always looking for opportunities to update the merchandising mix at our shopping centres to create a premier shopping experience for our customers, and this agreement with Sears is a reflection of that."

"We do not disclose information regarding tenant negotiations or the merchandising and/or leasing strategy of our shopping centres, but we are very excited about future plans for these Sears locations and will share those plans when appropriate," she told The Richmond Review in an e-mail.

One possible suitor is Nordstrom. The upscale department store is already taking over another Sears location in the region—at Pacific Centre Mall in downtown Vancouver—and is set to open in late 2015.

Meanwhile, another major retailer is moving ahead with plans to open its first department store in Richmond. Target announced Monday it will open its Lansdowne Centre location on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Target is moving into space previously occupied by Zellers.

Another 30 Target stores will open across Canada that same day.

“The final store openings for this year mark a major milestone in Target’s history,” said Tony Fisher, president of Target Canada, in a news release. “The goal for our Canadian expansion was to open 124 stores across all ten provinces in 2013, and we are proud to say that with the help of more than 20,000 Canadian team members nationwide, we have accomplished this unprecedented undertaking.”

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