How Sears Canada Could Have Been Saved: Expert

Date:

Share post:

A veteran Canadian retail consultant says Sears Canada didn’t have to close down its operations and could have stayed alive if the company adopted a unique and innovative strategy.

Mark Healy, a Toronto-based consultant in investment banking, real estate and retail, was a Canadian Tire franchise owner for 20 years and says Sears could have taken a look at creating a system of franchise ownership similar to Canadian Tire.

“About a year and a half ago, I tried to get ahold of Sears,” says Healy. “They were changing CEOs every two years.”

“I was thinking of my Canadian Tire days and how the system works but I’m thinking a lot of the stores at Sears were catalogue stores or actually dealer stores. So my thinking was with regards to Sears to save it you franchise the stores just like the Canadian Tire model.”

Sears Canada closed all its remaining stores in the country in mid-January. At one point in time, the company, which began operations in Canada in 1953, had 190 stores and well over 15,000 employees.

The controversial closure continues to make headline news across the country as former employees battle in court over a pension shortfall.

“I would have franchised it,” says Healy. “A lot of the stores they were hemorrhaging and bleeding with they could have leased them out or you redevelop. You repurpose that land. You build them into condos. You bring the customers to the mall – the vacant mall.”

“The most important thing is they didn’t have an ecommerce platform. They didn’t have anybody that could handle that. Guess what. Amazon’s going out and building brick and mortar stores. Cut a deal with Amazon and get them to handle your back end. Let them take the ecommerce. Let them do the deliveries. Let them do everything. I think there could have been an opportunity there with Amazon. It’s too late now obviously but I honestly believe that Sears didn’t really want to survive.”

PHOTO: CHAIN STORE AGE

Healy says he tried numerous times to present his plan to Sears.

“I couldn’t get through to anybody,” he says. “Couldn’t get through to Fort Knox.”

His idea of the franchise model would have meant that dealers would have had equity in the store.

“And usually like the Canadian Tire model you have some skin in the game. You care if the lights go off at 9:15 that they’re not burning all night. You watch your wages. You run a better store. You have profit sharing,” says Healy.

“What they do (Canadian Tire) is they own the land and the building. They charge the dealers a percentage of sales for rent. They take a mark up on the inventory but the dealers finance in the inventory and the assets. And they own it. And they make it work.”

“You need to have a dealer in there. A GM (general manager) is not going to care. At the end of the day, he’s going to do his best but there’s only so much he can do. But if you have skin in the game you make it work. You’re rotating your inventory. You’re worried about your discontinueds. You’re a buyer on the premises. You know what’s moving.”

Healy says he would have also renamed Sears.

“It’s an old name. It’s an American name. I would have rebranded it,” says Healy. “They brought in all these specialists spending money on fashion, accessories. Just get down to the retail street. Give the customers what they want. Service the heck out of them. I would have changed the name – made it more a Canadian name.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. Why doesn’t Sears open again, but go completely online? No need for a store and associated costs.
    I miss Sears products and would love to see them online. Seems like a win win situation?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From Retail Insider

Elevating Canadian Retail: How JLL’s Expertise Reshapes Property Management [Interviews]

Landlords are increasingly turning to JLL for pioneering property management solutions that prioritize both enhanced customer experiences and sustainability.

Mandy’s to Open Gourmet Salad Restaurant in Toronto’s Yorkville as Chain Expands [Exclusive Interview/Renderings]

The popular Montreal-based foodservice concept is growing its presence in Toronto with multiple locations, including one behind a soon-to-open Saint Laurent flagship store.

Gen Z’s Digital Upbringing Meets a Passion for Tangible Retail and Authentic Brands [Interview]

A new report on Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, provides insight into consumer behaviours as well as a look into the upcoming Generation Alpha.

Interview with Giant Tiger’s New CEO Gino DiGioacchino on the Future of the Iconic Canadian Retailer [Interview]

DiGioacchino speaks to Retail Insider after being appointed as the new President and CEO of Giant Tiger, and discusses the future of the business and importance of maintaining strong connections with local communities.

Purdys Chocolatier Expands Footprint with Pop-Up Stores [Interview]

The strategy involves providing customers with a taste of Purdys' renowned chocolates in areas where the brand hasn't had a presence before.

Colliers Report Emphasizes the Retail Advantage of Bridging the Digital-Physical Divide [Interview]

A recent report by Colliers Real Estate Management Services reveals that retailers who effectively blend their online and physical store operations are 35% more likely to achieve profitability, with the study emphasizes the importance of omnichannel strategies, convenience, property maintenance, and retailer-driven ESG initiatives.

Preview of ICSC@CANADA Conference 2023: Retail, Technology, and Networking Opportunities in Toronto [Interview]

Craig and Kyle Tomlin, Director of Events in Canada for ICSC, discuss the highly anticipated ICSC@CANADA 2023 conference, set to take place from October 2nd to 4th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre North Hall in downtown Toronto.

Canadian Grocers Take a Page from Carrefour’s Playbook to Tackle ‘Shrinkflation [Op-Ed]

French supermarket chain Carrefour has labeled products impacted by reduced size, and similar measures may be adopted in Canada to enhance transparency in food pricing, says Sylvain Charlebois.

Jeweller Mejuri Debuts Personalized App and Innovative Membership Program; Plans Expansion with 5 New Stores [Co-Founder Interview]

The popular brand's personalized mobile app and membership program aim to enhance customer engagement and personalization, as Mejuri enters major markets with stores.

Fast-Casual Restaurant Concept MightyBird Opening 1st Location in Toronto in a Partnership [Interviews]

The new concept at Union Station will be the first of many in a partnership between Eat Up Canada and Open Concept Hospitality.

KIT + ACE Launches Store Expansion in Canada Under New Ownership [Interview]

The Vancouver-based retailer will open two locations this fall in Toronto and Calgary, with plans for a substantial expansion into 2024 says CEO David Lui.

Casual Steakhouse Chain MR MIKES Expanding Further in Canada [Interview]

With plans for continued expansion into Western Canada and Ontario, the restaurant chain is evolving its concept and targeting smaller markets to establish itself as a hub for local communities.

Canadian Retail Sales: A Slight Recovery Amidst Economic Challenges [J.C. Williams Group Analysis]

The analysis explores the noteworthy trends in the health and wellness sector, the resilience of certain retail categories, and the impending holiday season's strategic considerations for retailers.

Bloor Street Retail Transformation: Luxury Brands, Renovations, and New Openings in Toronto [Podcast]

Craig and Lee take a deep dive into the dynamic changes occurring on Toronto's Bloor Street West, noting the street's resurgence as a thriving hub for luxury shopping in the city.

Ricardo’s Kandy Korner to Open Flagship Candy Store at CF Toronto Eaton Centre in Toronto [Interview]

Entrepreneur Ricardo Rizaie says he’s planning to take his experiential candy retail concept across Canada after opening a third Canadian storefront in downtown Toronto.

PizzaForno Expands Into Toronto’s Public Transit System, Sets Sights on Airport Locations for Automated 3-Minute Pizzas [Interview]

This innovative move marks PizzaForno's entry into the public transit sector, and demonstrates its commitment to becoming the fastest-growing pizza chain in North America by 2024.

Calgary’s Retail Space Crunch Drives Surge in Rental Rates and Demand [Report]

A variety of complicated factors are at play as Calgary retail space sees demand given market growth, while new supply is limited due to factors such as construction costs.

Lush Cosmetics Sets Ambitious Expansion Plans for Canada Including New Spa Locations, Services, and Entertainment Partnerships [Interview]

The UK-based retailer is innovating with its Canadian operations with enhanced customer experiences and unique treatments, while launching a new app to facilitate bookings and provide more information about products and services.

Canadian Consumers Adjust to Higher Cost of Living [Survey/Video Interview]

An Angus Reid survey asked Canadians how they're navigating elevated inflation, a higher cost of living and a potential recession.

Canadian Shoppers Embrace Generative AI for Shopping Suggestions: Report

The groundbreaking Salesforce report focuses on the growing importance of AI-driven personalization in the retail sector.

RECENT RETAIL INSIDER VIDEOS

Advertisment

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Subscribe

* indicates required

RECENT articles

Elevating Canadian Retail: How JLL’s Expertise Reshapes Property Management [Interviews]

Landlords are increasingly turning to JLL for pioneering property management solutions that prioritize both enhanced customer experiences and sustainability.

Mandy’s to Open Gourmet Salad Restaurant in Toronto’s Yorkville as Chain Expands [Exclusive Interview/Renderings]

The popular Montreal-based foodservice concept is growing its presence in Toronto with multiple locations, including one behind a soon-to-open Saint Laurent flagship store.

Gen Z’s Digital Upbringing Meets a Passion for Tangible Retail and Authentic Brands [Interview]

A new report on Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, provides insight into consumer behaviours as well as a look into the upcoming Generation Alpha.

Interview with Giant Tiger’s New CEO Gino DiGioacchino on the Future of the Iconic Canadian Retailer [Interview]

DiGioacchino speaks to Retail Insider after being appointed as the new President and CEO of Giant Tiger, and discusses the future of the business and importance of maintaining strong connections with local communities.

Purdys Chocolatier Expands Footprint with Pop-Up Stores [Interview]

The strategy involves providing customers with a taste of Purdys' renowned chocolates in areas where the brand hasn't had a presence before.

Colliers Report Emphasizes the Retail Advantage of Bridging the Digital-Physical Divide [Interview]

A recent report by Colliers Real Estate Management Services reveals that retailers who effectively blend their online and physical store operations are 35% more likely to achieve profitability, with the study emphasizes the importance of omnichannel strategies, convenience, property maintenance, and retailer-driven ESG initiatives.

Preview of ICSC@CANADA Conference 2023: Retail, Technology, and Networking Opportunities in Toronto [Interview]

Craig and Kyle Tomlin, Director of Events in Canada for ICSC, discuss the highly anticipated ICSC@CANADA 2023 conference, set to take place from October 2nd to 4th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre North Hall in downtown Toronto.

Canadian Grocers Take a Page from Carrefour’s Playbook to Tackle ‘Shrinkflation [Op-Ed]

French supermarket chain Carrefour has labeled products impacted by reduced size, and similar measures may be adopted in Canada to enhance transparency in food pricing, says Sylvain Charlebois.

Jeweller Mejuri Debuts Personalized App and Innovative Membership Program; Plans Expansion with 5 New Stores [Co-Founder Interview]

The popular brand's personalized mobile app and membership program aim to enhance customer engagement and personalization, as Mejuri enters major markets with stores.

Fast-Casual Restaurant Concept MightyBird Opening 1st Location in Toronto in a Partnership [Interviews]

The new concept at Union Station will be the first of many in a partnership between Eat Up Canada and Open Concept Hospitality.

KIT + ACE Launches Store Expansion in Canada Under New Ownership [Interview]

The Vancouver-based retailer will open two locations this fall in Toronto and Calgary, with plans for a substantial expansion into 2024 says CEO David Lui.

Casual Steakhouse Chain MR MIKES Expanding Further in Canada [Interview]

With plans for continued expansion into Western Canada and Ontario, the restaurant chain is evolving its concept and targeting smaller markets to establish itself as a hub for local communities.

Canadian Retail Sales: A Slight Recovery Amidst Economic Challenges [J.C. Williams Group Analysis]

The analysis explores the noteworthy trends in the health and wellness sector, the resilience of certain retail categories, and the impending holiday season's strategic considerations for retailers.

Bloor Street Retail Transformation: Luxury Brands, Renovations, and New Openings in Toronto [Podcast]

Craig and Lee take a deep dive into the dynamic changes occurring on Toronto's Bloor Street West, noting the street's resurgence as a thriving hub for luxury shopping in the city.

Ricardo’s Kandy Korner to Open Flagship Candy Store at CF Toronto Eaton Centre in Toronto [Interview]

Entrepreneur Ricardo Rizaie says he’s planning to take his experiential candy retail concept across Canada after opening a third Canadian storefront in downtown Toronto.

PizzaForno Expands Into Toronto’s Public Transit System, Sets Sights on Airport Locations for Automated 3-Minute Pizzas [Interview]

This innovative move marks PizzaForno's entry into the public transit sector, and demonstrates its commitment to becoming the fastest-growing pizza chain in North America by 2024.

Calgary’s Retail Space Crunch Drives Surge in Rental Rates and Demand [Report]

A variety of complicated factors are at play as Calgary retail space sees demand given market growth, while new supply is limited due to factors such as construction costs.

Lush Cosmetics Sets Ambitious Expansion Plans for Canada Including New Spa Locations, Services, and Entertainment Partnerships [Interview]

The UK-based retailer is innovating with its Canadian operations with enhanced customer experiences and unique treatments, while launching a new app to facilitate bookings and provide more information about products and services.

Canadian Consumers Adjust to Higher Cost of Living [Survey/Video Interview]

An Angus Reid survey asked Canadians how they're navigating elevated inflation, a higher cost of living and a potential recession.

Canadian Shoppers Embrace Generative AI for Shopping Suggestions: Report

The groundbreaking Salesforce report focuses on the growing importance of AI-driven personalization in the retail sector.