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Liquidation sales at dozens of Sears Canada locations slated for closure could begin as early as this week after an Ontario court signed off on the plan Tuesday.
The sales can start Friday and run no later than Oct. 12 with the deep discounts happening only at the 59 department and Sears Home stores that have been slated for closure.
Sears lawyer Jeremy Dacks told the hearing to approve plan that it was “crucial” the retailer be permitted to begin sales of its merchandise, furniture, fixtures and equipment as soon as possible so it could “maximize” benefits for its stakeholders.
“It gives us certainty of recovery,” Dacks said in court.
The nearly 300-page motion was unopposed by the litany of lawyers involved in the proceedings, including those representing the company, the landlords, the monitor and current and ex-employees.
The majority of the sales will be overseen by a third-party liquidator with current employees being asked to stay on the job until the sales are complete and the locations are shut down.
Stores will be able to advertise the sales with signs that say “Everything On Sale,” “Everything Must Go,” and “Store Closing” or similar wording. However, the signs cannot say “Bankruptcy,” “Liquidation” or “Going out of Business,” according to the motion.
Sears Canada has been operating under court protection from creditors since June 22 when it announced its plan to shutter 59 stores and cut approximately 2,900 jobs.
The chain plans to shut 20 full Sears stores, 15 Sears Home Stores, all 10 outlet stores and 14 Sears Hometown stores — roughly one-third of its current retail footprint.
Last week, Ontario Superior Court Judge Glenn Hainey gave the company the green light to begin the process of putting itself up for sale. He also gave the retailer approval to pay $ 9.2 million in retention bonuses to executives and other key employees.
The payout was part of a compromise with retired employees that will see Sears Canada continue making some benefit and pension payments to retirees until Sept. 30.
Founded in 1952, Sears Canada operates 239 locations, including department stores, Hometown stores, Home Stores, distribution centres and warehouses. It also owns 16 franchises under the Corbeil banner, a specialty major appliances chain. It said it hopes to exit court protection as soon as possible this year.