Sears Canada laying off hundreds; job losses in Montreal

Another round of job cuts is rippling through the operations of Sears Canada Inc., affecting more than 1,600 positions as the company looks for ways to lower expenses.

The retailer says it has eliminated 283 jobs at warehouses across much of the country in a move to simplify logistics. The warehouses affected are in Calgary, Montreal, Belleville and Vaughan, Ont., and a Vancouver suburb.

Sears Canada will also outsource the 1,345 associate jobs at its three customer call centres in Toronto, Montreal and Belleville, Ont., over the next nine months.

IBM will become the third-party vendor for customer services, with its English-language phone operations being handled out of the Philippines and French calls going to an office in Europe, said spokesman Vince Power.

The company's call centres handle catalogue orders, gift registry and parts and repair services.

Sears Canada has been scaling back its call centres for several years.

The company closed its Hamilton office in 2008, laying off about 140 mainly part-time staff. A year later it shuttered the Regina office, laying off 250 people.

The latest round of job cuts are necessary for the health of the company, said president and CEO Doug Campbell.

``These types of decisions are not made without considerable thought and deliberation,'' he said in a release.

``We are planning for the future of Sears Canada and taking steps now that will allow us to continue serving customers.''

Sears Canada is trying to reduce costs and improve its overall business as part of a three-year turnaround plan. The company is dealing with intense competition within the retail sector and a slate of aging stores that it began plans to renovate before the departure of its previous CEO, Calvin McDonald.

Since last year, Sears Canada has sold off the leases for some of its most prominent locations and has become more aggressive in cutting the number of employees across its operations, from head office positions to customer service.

Last week Sears Holdings Corp., the department store retailer's U.S. parent company, said that sales at its Canadian stores dropped 4.4 per cent in the busy holiday sales period between Nov. 3 and Jan. 6.

Sears Canada followed with its own announcement highlighting that same-store sales in its apparel and accessories business actually increased 1.5 per cent in the same period.

The Canadian operation reports its financial results on Feb. 26.

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  1. Eric posted on 01/15/2014 09:00 PM
    Get rid of one top level administrator who is not serving the customers and you would save 1600 jobs of employees who have families here to take care of and not in Europe or the Philippines! Very sad day for Canada! But that is what CEO's do to earn their 7 figure salaries!
  2. steven posted on 01/16/2014 08:21 AM
    One of the call center is in Romania. They told the employees a few months ago that there would be no cuts. They even offered to some of the employees to go there to train them. My mom found out around 8pm last night about her position being cut and n 9months.
    1. Steven posted on 01/16/2014 02:30 PM
      @steven Sorry it's Bulgaria and not Romania.
    2. Steven posted on 01/16/2014 02:31 PM
      @steven They have another call centre also in the Phillipines.
  3. AllanH_3880 posted on 01/16/2014 11:05 AM
    I t never ceases to amaze me that the CEO's of these large companies who consistently seek to redue costs never conider that thier jobs also can be performed in places such as China and India etc. Any company that pays their senior executives million dollar plus saliaries are despicable. The top dogs will received bonuses for eliminating jobs locally. Shell, Air Canada, Saputo and this list is long are all guilty of going the easy route to reduce costs. I say their bonuses and salaries should be based on finding creative policies to generate profit and keeping jobs here. If they can only reduce costs by moving the jobs overseas then they should lose income !!!!
  4. Drew posted on 01/16/2014 06:15 PM
    I bought a dehumidifier and needed a filter .I called the parts dept. and got some guy in India who did not even know what a dehumidifier was. I got so frustrated could not get the part so I threw it out and bought one in another store. How to get out of going to a foreign country for technical support is do not press 2 for English press 1 for French they speak English too lol lol lol and it works
  5. Jean posted on 01/16/2014 08:56 PM
    That's Quebec for you, all the good "real" jobs are elsewhere in Canada. Quebec is filled with "Call Center" customer service jobs for people who have no ambition and want to just sit on their ass all day working a simple job with no prospects. Maybe these jobs are really just a blessing as it forces these lazy workers to get up off their ass and actually look for a real job.
  6. George posted on 01/16/2014 10:54 PM
    The CEO should drive down to plattsburg on a weekend and see all the Quebec plates in the parking lot lets face it there is not much here
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