It was not that long ago that every large mall had a Sears store. In the last few years, several locations have closed including the flagship one at the TorontoEaton Centre. That location is now a Nordstrom. Others like Sherway Gardens have become a Saks Fifth Avenue. There are also locations like Markville that are still an empty space. Amid new financial troubles, Sears announced today that there will be fifty nine more stores closing in the near future. This will result in over two thousand jobs lost and leave them with fewer than one hundred stores across Canada.
Just ten years ago I would not have been able to imagine this happening. Sears was the second largest department store chain next to Hudson’s Bay. It was the first store I went to when I needed a new wallet or shirt. Now I can’t remember the last time I made a purchase at Sears. It was probably a Lindt chocolate at least two years ago. At Fairview Mall, I only walk through the store since the entrance is right by the TTC stations. Sometimes I am surprised at how much it has changed. I remember when there was a giant hardware section and grandiose holiday displays at Christmas time. It seems much emptier now and the store is not in good condition.
The Fairview location is currently undergoing major renovations. It is one of many efforts for Sears to save their business. Another change is a new logo, which I personally find completely pointless. Their signature blue lettering has been replaced by what looks like a Microsoft Word font. I think it’s very boring, especially when compared to the old one. Also, making the maple leaf bigger reminds me of when Target commercials tried to make it seem “Canadian.” It just seems like they are an American chain desperately trying to fit in. We all know how that ended for Target, so it seems fitting that Sears appears to be going the same route.
These days, more people prefer to shop online than in stores. Sears Canada’s Internet sales have actually dropped recently. They did make changes to improve their online shopping experience. However, many customers said these changes should have been made a long time ago. By contrast, their main competitor Hudson’s Bay does an excellent job with online shopping. I recently ordered from them. They have a variety of products, shipping was fast, and customer service is great.
I would love to see Sears Canada turn things around. However, I know that at this point only a miracle could make that happen. The stores are not in good condition and their efforts to save the business are not enough. They also did not focus enough on their online shopping experience. It would not surprise me if Sears had to close the remaining stores in the near future. This once-prominent retail chain is fading fast.