The Winnipeg city councillor who represents the Garden City area said she is optimistic about retail there, despite the upcoming closure of the large Sears Outlet store.
Sears Canada announced Thursday it is closing 59 locations across Canada, including all of its outlet stores, and will cut 2,900 jobs.
The only business affected in Winnipeg is the company’s outlet store at the Garden City Shopping Centre. The store’s closure follows other recent closures in the area, including those of the Future Shop and Safeway locations that were nearby.
“It’s obviously sad for those that would be losing their job with Sears,” Coun. Devi Sharma (Old Kildonan) said Thursday after learning of the news. “But I think as one door closes another does open.”
The Garden City area has seen a recent population boom through immigration, said Sharma, and she remains confident that the mall will find a tenant soon for the old Sears store.
“McPhillips and Leila, where the mall is located, is one of our strongest retail nodes in Winnipeg,” she said. “I see this very much as a leasable space and it will be leased in relatively short order.”
Sears shoppers CBC spoke to at the mall Thursday said they were surprised the company was closing the outlet store, especially given the area is growing with vibrant Indian and Filipino communities.
“I’m sure we’re going to need stores here. I’m very upset,” said shopper Helen Wyszynski.
“Going to miss it, definitely,” said frequent Sears customer Greg Siemens. “We’ll just have to drive further to shop in this part of town.”
Who will fill the space?
If the new tenant is going to be successful, Kelley Main, a marketing professor at the University of Manitoba, said it will need to learn from Sears’ mistakes.
“We see stores that have a similar model that…