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Sears Canada Runs Out of Time, Opts for Liquidation

Sears Canada has announced it is seeking court approval to liquidate all of its remaining stores and assets.

The department store, which filed for bankruptcy protection in June, said despite its efforts to do so, it found no viable way to continue as a going concern.

For a short time it looked like the retailer would be saved—at least in part—by its former executive chairman. Brandon Stranzl stepped down from his position in August to spearhead a private equity buyout. People close to the matter said he had a deal on the table worth 650 million Canadian dollars ($533 million) with private equity backing from Vadim Perelman plus debt financing.

Stranzl had reportedly still been working to pull the deal together as recently as last week. Ultimately, unnamed sources told The Wall Street Journal, the board felt that with the holidays looming, time had run out.

If he’d been successful, about a third of the retail chain’s 200 stores would have survived.

Edward Lampert, CEO of Sears Holdings, which spun off Sears Canada, had considered his own bid for the retailer through his company ESL Partners in collaboration with Fairholme Capital. The two firms, which own about two-thirds of the shares for the business, ultimately dropped the idea at the end of July.

As it is, Sears Canada expects to take its motion to liquidate before the court on October 13th. If it is approved, liquidation will begin around October 19th, lasting 10 to 14 weeks.

Since its bankruptcy filing, the retailer had been splashed across the headlines, as Canadian news outlets chronicled the ill will it had garnered stemming from its treatment of former employees.

Prior to the bankruptcy filing, Sears Canada had been in the midst of a turnaround, which included a new off-price model and a revamped private label assortment.