Companies & Industries

A timeline of Sears Canada’s rise and fall

The beleaguered department store chain has spent 60 years on the retail rollercoaster

Abandoned Sears store

(Peter Adams)

A slow economic recovery and the increasing numbers of Canadians shopping online have left the traditional retail model in shambles. Every urban neighbourhood seems to have a shuttered chain store, with Target, Future Shop, Jacob, Mexx and Sony just a small selection of the companies going under or pulling out of Canada over the last twelve months.

Sears Canada is still standing, but only just. Ronald Boire, the retail veteran brought in as interim CEO in October 2014 and given the role permanently just this January, is leaving the beleaguered company to become president and CEO of the Barnes & Noble bookstore chain effective September 8, 2015.

For those of you at home counting, that’s the third CEO Sears Canada has shed in three years.All three CEOs chose September as their month of departure, signalling perhaps that Canadian winters are just too much to bear when you’re already contending with the misery of a failing company. Boire’s predecessor Doug Campbell announced his intention to return to the U.S. in Setpember 2014, and his departure came a year to the day predecessor Calvin McDonald left to run Sephora Americas.

Here’s a timeline of the rise and fall of Sears Canada, a chain that once dominated much of the department store market in Canada.