From Canadian Press
ONTARIO — Sears Canada is leaving the vehicle service business, in a move that affects about 775 employees as the retailer licenses three other companies to operate at 36 of its 49 auto centers.
The rest of the service centers will be closed or converted to non-automotive purposes, the company announced yesterday.
Sears said it expects that most of the employees at the locations that will converted to the Kal Tire, President Tire or Active Green & Ross banners will be offered jobs with the new operators.
Brent Hollister, Sear Canada’s president and chief operating officer, said there has been a significant change in the automotive service industry in Canada.
“That change requires sophisticated equipment and capital investment in an area of expertise which Kal Tire, President Tire and Active Green & Ross are clearly focused and better able to support within their corporate strategy,” Hollister said.
“We feel that Sears and these three reputable auto service and tire providers share the same core values of quality products and exceptional service, which is important to Sears as our customers make the transition.”
The shift to the new operators is to take place in May.
Eleven of the 17 Sears auto centers in Western Canada will be converted to Kal Tire.
All three Sears auto centers in New Brunswick, one in Newfoundland and 13 of 14 in Quebec will become President Tire locations.
Eight of 14 Sears auto centers in Ontario will be converted to Active Green & Ross. Additionally, Active Green & Ross will reopen three Sears centers in Ontario that closed in 2001, adding about 40 jobs in Cornwall, Hamilton and Thornhill.
The new operators will sell Sears DieHard batteries, and will honor the Sears credit card and existing warranties.
Six Sears auto centers will close: Edmonton Kingsway in Alberta, St. Catharines and Sudbury in Ontario, and Surrey, Victoria and Kamloops in British Columbia. Seven others will close and be converted to other Sears uses: Edmonton West Mall; Saskatoon; Newmarket, Oshawa, Kitchener and Windsor, Ont.; and Alma, Que.
“The decision to exit the automotive aftermarket business in no way reflects the hard work and commitment of Sears automotive associates,” Hollister stated.
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