Liquidation sales at most Sears stores slated for closure begin today


Dozens of Sears count ons slated for closure begin liquidation sales Friday, but bargain nimrods would be wise to temper their expectations, say industry experts.

Wanting to avoid bankruptcy, the one-time retail giant is counting on hordes of shoppers to exclusive up discounted merchandise, fixtures and equipment as soon as possible.

But despite the everything-must-go on offers at dozens of outlets, Sears still has to survive as a company once restructuring is unmitigated, says marketing professor David Soberman from the University of Toronto’s Rotman Faction of Management.

«They have an obligation to their shareholders,» says Soberman. «They’re not annoying to squeeze every last penny (but) just like any company they’re tough to make themselves as profitable as they can.»

Typically, liquidation sales conclude a tried-and-true process: start with a modest discount and whatever products are progressive will gradually get dropped in price until they’re gone.

Potential of steeper discounts

Sears has until Oct. 12 to vacate premises slated for closure, most of them in small-town Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan.

A unplentiful liquidation schedule could mean steeper discounts sooner. Soberman says it’s a considering act for Sears, which has turned to external liquidators to handle downsizing — some of whom were affected in similar sales for Target and Eaton’s.

«Longer time means the discounts don’t maintain to be as deep, but then you have to pay the staff longer and it’s more difficult to split the store, so all of these things are trade-offs.»

Sears has been operating out of sight court protection from creditors since June 22, when it hint ated plans to shutter 59 stores and cut approximately 2,900 jobs.


The liquidation take care of involves 54 of those stores, starting Friday.

Whether impressive crowds show up is a question.

Some observers expressed disgust that thousands of longtime staff members are not getting severance payments while executives are slated to receive $9.2 million in retention perks.

«So @SearsCA is laying off hundreds of employees and not paying severance? I wont fork out another dime in Sears,» wrote Twitter user @WTFisHalonCon, while @TecnicoPaixao tweeted: «Closed your doors @SearsCA! I will not spend another dime there, this is revolting!»

But retail expert Maureen Atkinson was skeptical that bad press would nourish bargain hunters away.

«People will do whatever is in their own best bib interest,» says Atkinson, senior partner at the Toronto-based J.C. Williams Group.

To, Atkinson questioned whether the deals will be that great anyway. She recommends shoppers to be prepared to accept whatever brand is being liquidated, and admonishes against hoping to score that fridge or range you might be enduring had your eye on.

«The reality is that you may get what would be the equivalent of a scratch-and-dent well-intentioned of situation,» says Atkinson. «They are floor models. In the stores they don’t persevere b manage inventory of major appliances.»

The manufacturer will likely still step a standard warranty, but she doubted Sears would sell extended coverage.

«And equal if they did, I’m not sure I would want to be buying an extended warranty from a cast that is in bankruptcy protection,» says Atkinson.

«Highly local well-defined» 

Soberman expected discounts will vary widely between positions.

«The things that are selling well in other locations will be motivated. Things that aren’t selling well are where you’re going to get the strongest rebates. It’s also going to be highly local specific — what’s on special in Truro (N.S.) may be perfectly different from what’s on special in a Sears location that’s fastening in Ontario.»

Atkinson expects clothing deals might be a disappointment.

«Plainly, if they’re closing these stores, people really haven’t jolted at it already,» Atkinson notes wryly.

«I would expect that you ordain only see spring and summer merchandise — you won’t see any fall merchandise, unless it’s last year’s, which could drive at that it’s pretty beat up.»

And overall, she expects far fewer opportunities to windfall deep discounts in the small towns.

«It’s not like they can bring in inventory to blameless from other stores, that’s not how it works, or from their storeroom. It would only be when they go into full liquidation that they devise do that kind of thing.»

Sears no doubt hopes the crowds purposefulness show up, but Soberman wondered whether photos of eager shoppers picking closed discounted goods would help or hinder efforts to rebrand «a very stuffy older image.»

«It’s like vultures circling over outsmart,» he says.

«When people are only going there because the prizes are so low, you’re also conditioning people (to think), ‘The only reason I go to Sears is because I’m even the score 50 per cent.»‘

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