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People walk past the main Sears store in downtown Vancouver.


Amid declining financial results, Sears Canada Inc. let go about 70 of its employees on Monday as its new chief executive officer races to turn around the struggling retailer.

The employee cuts were in the ranks of head office staff, including some middle and senior management, Sears spokesman Vincent Power said. In all, Sears has about 30,000 employees, including roughly 11,000 full-time staff. Those let go had worked full-time at the company.

"It's all part of a longer term plan that the leadership team is working on," Mr. Power said, adding the cuts will help Sears operate more efficiently.

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The staff reduction comes as Sears scrambles to reverse its fortunes after reporting more disappointing results earlier this month.

In its third quarter, it posted a loss of $46.6-million, down from a profit of $20.8-million a year ago. Revenue dropped off 7.1 per cent to $1.11-billion from $1.2-billion, while same-store sales – a key measure of retail health – fell 7.8 per cent over the same period last year.

``We are not pleased with our results this quarter and have significant work ahead of us," Calvin McDonald, who was appointed in the summer, said in a statement. ``The Sears Canada leadership team, with the support of all associates, is committed to making major improvements and has begun to implement new initiatives that are intended to lead the Company to reach its full potential.'' The retailer has been struggling to overcome lagging sales in recent quarters as more consumers opt to spend their money elsewhere, and retailers ramp up competition ahead of the entry of newcomer Target Corp. into the Canadian marketplace.

Sears Canada has 196 corporate stores, 280 hometown dealer stores and 1,700 catalogue merchandise pick-up locations across Canada. The company, 92 per cent owned by U.S. retail giant Sears Holdings Corp. , also operates 108 Sears Travel offices and a country-wide home maintenance, repair, and installation network.

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About the Author
Retailing Reporter

Marina Strauss covers retailing for The Globe and Mail's Report on Business. She follows a wide range of topics in the sector, from the fallout of foreign retailers invading Canada to how a merchant such as the Swedish Ikea gets its mojo. She has probed the rise and fall (and revival efforts) of Loblaw Cos., Hudson's Bay and others. More

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