Business expert says Sears future doesn’t look good

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV
Business expert says Sears future doesn't look good

A retail analyst at queen’s university says he’s not surprised that Sears Canada is in deep financial trouble. The retail giant says it’s running out of cash flow to meet its financial obligations over the next year… and may have to close or sell its stores.
Sears is one of two anchor department stores at the Cataraqui Centre in Kingston.
It’s been a part of the mall since 1999, but it faces an uncertain future.
The retail company says revenues have been on a steady decline since 2014 … losing 145-million dollars in the first 3 months of this year alone.
Disappointing news for some shoppers.

Terry Munro, Shopper:
“Sears was always a store you went to as a family to shop. It always carried everything you needed. It’s changed over the years. The fact that it’s struggling is very sad because it’s part of Canada.”

John Breimer:
“It’s disappointing to hear. I do see Sears as a good Canadian company and I’d love to see it continue.”

Rhandi Way, Shopper:
“I shop there quite often so kind of devastating I guess.”

The iconic brand has been a Canadian staple for almost 65 years.
According to Queen’s business analyst Ken Wong, Sears dominated the retail industry when it started offering catalogue shopping– and finds it ironic that on-line shopping is now taking a big chunk of their profits.

Ken Wong, Queens University:
“They did the bricks and mortar for retailing, what e-commerce is now doing to Sears and ultimately did to Eatons.”

To try and attract customers, the company has started re-branding itself– even coming out with a cheaper line of fashions and home decor called “The Cut”.
But, according to Wong, lower prices may not be enough to attract more shoppers
He says Sears will have to find a niche of their own… to stay afloat.

Ken Wong, Queens University:
“If they are going to, it has to be because they can give the consumer a reason to come to Sears, a reason that they can’t satisfy on-line. And that brings you right back to private labels.”

Wong says one company taking a page from that strategy is Nordstom.

Ken Wong, Queens University:
“They came to Canada and is doing what Target couldn’t do in Canada because Nordstrom is playing to a particular quality angle as opposed to trying to be the best on low price.”

For now the doors at Sears will remain open, but Wong predicts that if they can’t turn things around financially by Black Friday, then the iconic retailer could be forced to sell its stores… or close them.
Maegen Kulchar CKWS News Kingston.

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