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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sears Canada winding up business after 65 years

   Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 15/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Sears Canada, a retailing giant here for 65 years, will soon be no more.
   The company is winding up its business, closing the remaining 130 stores and ending the jobs of 12,000 employees. It closed 59 stores and laid off 2,900 workers in June.
   Sears received court approval Friday to liquidate its remaining stores as no viable buyer could be found for the struggling retailer.
   Judge Glenn Hainey of the Ontario Supreme Court said he was satisfied there was no viable alternative after restructuring attempts and a sale failed to materialize after it received protection from creditors in June.
   Retail analysts said Sears was unable to adapt to a changing marketplace as it lost customers to Walmart, Canadian Tire, Best Buy, Costco, Winners and Amazon.
   The company had sales declines for more than a decade after being given a lifeline with the demise of iconic department store chain Eaton’s in 1999 when Sears bought its remaining assets.
   Sears Canada began as Simpsons-Sears in 1952 with a mail-order business in partnership with Sears Roebuck Co. of Chicago. It was spun off from U.S. based Sears Holdings in 2012.


   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not as confident after meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump that a revised North American Free Trade Agreement can be reached.
   He still has faith in the three-country pact being revised while admitting the pact with the U.S. and Mexico could be in trouble.
   But, it is still “very possible to get a win-win-win ... out of these negotiations,” Trudeau said in Washington after his meeting.
   He then traveled to Mexico and met with President Enrique Pena Nieto as the country prepares for the deal to collapse.
   A major issue will be the U.S. demand for a strict “Made in America” requirement for automobiles.


   News in brief:
   - Fund-raising campaigns have been started for the Canadian victims and survivors of the Las Vegas mass murder. Killed were Jordan McIldoon of Maple Ridge, British Columbia; Jessica Klymchuk of Valleyview, Alberta; Calla Medig, of Jasper, Alberta; and Tara Roe of Okotoks, Alberta. Some of the injured Canadians are concerned about hospital costs as they hadn’t bought out-of-country supplemental coverage.
   - Changes are to be made to Canada’s controversial proposed tax bill aimed at the wealthy. Finance Minister Bill Morneau will announce the revisions Monday after a backlash of complaints. The government said reforms are needed so people can’t incorporate small businesses to unfairly reduce their income tax. The changes are expected to ensure the reforms are targeted more clearly at the wealthy.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar has advanced to 80.22 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.246 in Canadian funds before exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3.2 percent.
   Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 15,807 points while the TSX Venture index is 797 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada is steady at $1.09 a liter or $4.14 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (Oct. 11) 18, 24, 32, 36, 37 and 44; bonus 9. (Oct. 7) 8, 22, 28, 40, 46 and 49; bonus 9. Lotto Max (Oct. 6) 10, 17, 25, 27, 29, 34 and 38; bonus 48.


   Regional briefs:
   - Ride-sharing company Uber has withdrawn its threat to pulled out of Quebec over government demands for more stringent training requirements and criminal background checks for drivers. The company will continue its discussions now that Premier Philippe Couillard has appointed a new transport minister. Andre Fortin takes over from Laurent Lessard who was moved to the agriculture portfolio.
   - Denise Robertson, a 46-year-old mother of three, in Chatham, Ontario found out the hard way that her live-in boyfriend was serious about leaving. She discovered Maurice Thibeault gone with all his possessions including a Lotto 6/49 ticket. It turned out the ticket won a tax-free cash jackpot of $6.1 million. The prize is now in limbo after Robertson obtained a court injunction, claiming the prize is half hers.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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