TORONTO (March 31, 2004) — Sears Canada Inc. will exit the automotive aftermarket business this year through operating agreements with Kal Tire, President Tire Canada and Active Green+Ross and various other closures, the Toronto-based retailer said.
The Canadian tire dealerships will operate 36 of the retailer's 49 auto centers in their respective markets across Canada. The tire dealers will operate under three separate licensing arrangements and their own banner, Sears said. Kal Tire will operate 11 stores in western Canada, President Tire will get 17 in Quebec and the Maritimes and Active Green+Ross will get eight in Ontario. Another three Ontario stores that closed in 2001 will be reopened as Active Green+Ross stores.
Sears' DieHard brand of batteries also will be sold at the dealerships. Existing warranties will be accepted at all locations, Sears said.
Of the remaining stores not covered by these agreements, Sears Canada will close six and convert seven others to non-selling store space or selling floor space for merchandise within the full-line store to which they are connected.
“In recent years, there has been significant change in the automotive aftermarket industry in Canada,” said Brent Hollister, president and COO of Sears 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.”
About 775 Sears employees will be affected by the move, though many are expected to be offered positions with the three dealers. Re-opening some stores also is expected to create about 40 jobs.
Financial details were not disclosed.