Blogs & Comment

Winners & Losers: Sears Canada is on Target, The Gap caves in

Sears earns a little goodwill by offering jobs to laid-off Target employees

▲ Sears Canada

Not dead yet

Sears Canada store

(Keith Beaty/Toronto Star/Getty)

When Target Canada filed for creditor protection, roughly 17,600 Canadians were suddenly unemployed. But Sears Canada is there to help them out with the promise of jobs. While it defies logic—Actual jobs? Paid with money? Sears has money?—the company is making a noble effort to assist Canadians in need. Sears started by offering the jobless Target employees discounts at their locations and is now starting to meet with former workers. About 140 were bussed to Sears headquarters last week as part of a nationwide effort to find spots for them. “We felt like we had to reach out and say, ‘We’re here,'” CEO Ronald Boire told the Canadian Press. Sears cut more than 2,000 jobs last year alone, but plans to hire 8,000 people in 2015. These are predominantly part-time and seasonal positions, however, the kind where pay and morale is low. Still, Sears is to be commended for outlasting Target Canada and exploiting its failure for its own gain. Somebody else will exploit Sears’ own downfall soon enough.

▼ The Gap

Piperlime ran out of juice

Gap shopping bags

(Dimas Ardian/Getty)

The clothing retailer shut down its predominantly online offshoot Piperlime, choosing instead to focus on its bigger brands like Banana Republic and Old Navy—in other words, the ones you’ve actually heard of. Piperlime started in 2006 to complete with Zappos, selling only shoes before branching into apparel. The company pushed hard for Piperlime to appeal to fashionistas, and it worked with celebrity stylists like Rachel Zoe, appeared on Project Runway, featured apparel hand-selected by staff, and carried brands like Kate Spade and Marc Jacobs. In 2012, a Piperlime store was even set up in Manhattan. It never caught on, however. Piperlime accounted for just 1% of Gap’s total revenue, and may have just proven to be a distraction. The company has bigger problems these days. Its flagship brand is tired, and it’s been contending with weak sales, proving that normcore probably isn’t a real trend after all.