Sears Canada Goes Downtown

Sears acquires Eatons and opens downtown for the first time
Posted August 1, 2000

Sears Canada acquired 19 Eatons stores last year when the venerable department store chain finally caved in after two years of fighting off bankruptcy. This fall, seven of those stores, which will retain the Eatons name, will reopen after serious renovation. Five of the stores are located downtown, a first for Sears in Canada.

The largest of the seven Eatons, located in Toronto's Eaton Center, will cover what was reported as one million square feet of retail space. While some of Sears'competitors, including Hudson's Bay, were able to acquire other Eatons stores in the bankruptcy dispersion, this unit is the most prominent. Plus Sears managed to obtain key real estate in almost all major Canadian cities.

So Sears shouldn't have a problem retaining most of Eatons'past revenue, according to Rick Brown, Sears Canada senior vp of strategic initiatives. Considering the retailer's key downtown locations, and 12 others, Sears should be able to summon up 75 percent of Eatons'previous sales of $1.6 billion Canadian, he says.

Sears plans to reopen its Eatons stores with a new attitude, including a higher level of service. To maintain separation between Sears and Eatons, few product lines will be shared, and Sears will continue Eatons'attempt to appeal to younger customers.