A former chief executive of Sears Canada says complete liquidation is inevitable and is the only likely outcome for the troubled retailer.
“It sounds like it’s an inevitability,” said Mark Cohen, in an interview on BNN Wednesday.
“If the company is stepping in at this late date looking to sell yet more assets, there’s very little time left between now and the holiday,” said Cohen, who is currently the director of retail studies at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business.
“And so I just don’t see what kind of an outcome comes of this – other than liquidation – either abrupt or in some fashion following the presentation of this alleged bid,” he added, referring to Sears Canada’s executive chairman Brandon Stranzl’s proposal to buy the business.
The company was at the Ontario Supreme Court Wednesday seeking approval to sell 11 stores in addition to the 59 it’s already closing, and to extend its court protection until Nov.7.
Sears’ court-appointed monitor says the company can seek permission for total liquidation if Stranzl’s bid fails.
“I have to say this sounds more and more like a pathetic charade every day,” said Cohen, who was Sears Canada’s CEO between 2001 and 2004. “I find this all to be tragically pathetic. Very, very sad.”
Cohen said the liquidation will be “tremendously disruptive,” especially coming ahead of the holiday season.
He also said the company has already lost the trust of consumers.
“This is a sinking ship,” Cohen said. “And there may or may not be enough seats in the lifeboat.”