The timing of the closures has not been finalized, but RioCan also says the closure of a Sears Outlet store in Timmins, Ont., had been previously announced and the lease is about to expire.
The latest 20 are among the 235 locations Sears sold to its real estate investment trust spinoff, Seritage Growth Properties, in 2015. It said it will begin liquidation sales next weekend and that the stores are expected to close by mid-September. The announcement came after the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted the department store chain temporary protection from creditors under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). RadioShack, Gymboree, Rue21 and Payless Shoes have all filed this year, and other retailers already in bankruptcy, such as The Limited, have closed all their stores.
"We understand that members may be disappointed when we close a store, but our Shop Your Way membership platform, websites and mobile apps allow us to maintain these valued relationships long after a store closes its doors", the company said in a statement emailed to Retail Dive. An auto center at the Galewood Sears will close in late July.
Sears warned in March that there is "substantial doubt" about its ability to remain in business due to losses that have topped $10 billion since 2010, the last time it turned a profit. The number so far this year is triple what it was in the same period last year, according to an analysis by Fung Global Retail & Technology, a retail think tank.
The company operates 21 Sears and 25 Kmart locations in New Jersey. Sears Holdings owns about 12% of Sears Canada, while Sears CEO Eddie Lampert owns about 45% of its shares both personally and through his hedge fund.