Bargain hunters gathered outside the Kelowna Sears Thursday morning for first crack at the retailer’s liquidation sale.
Discounts ranging from 20 to 50 per cent met them inside, but in the moments before that happened people were talking less about savings and more about loss.
“This is probably the start of most of the big chains going — and I don’t want to see that,” said Bob Ashton, from Kelowna.
“I want Sears to stay. I’ve shopped there all my life and I like to be able to touch and feel what I buy. I don’t want to shop online.”
Ashton pointed out that online shopping doesn’t have the same immediacy as going into a store, which he prefers.
RELATED: SEARS CLOSING IN KELOWNA
Meaghynne Jones on the other hand said she hadn’t shopped at the department store for awhile, but knows it to be a good place for children’s clothes and she was hoping to get a good deal.
“Everybody shops online now, it’s inconvenient to come to a store,” she said.
For others, concerns focused less around Sears’s exit from the retail market and more about a loss of tradition.
“Most people go to Amazon right now, but I grew up in a small town in Saskatchewan, and for us, the WishBook was the most important thing that happened in our lives,” said Linda, who asked to be identified by her first name only.
“The other part that’s sad is that all these people have lost their jobs.”
Across the country an estimated 12,000 people lost their jobs at Sears after an 18-month-long in-store revival effort that failed to win over consumers.
The final clearance sale will stretch through to no later than Jan. 21 at 74 full department store locations, eight Sears Home Stores and 49 Sears Hometown stores.
The company has been operating under court protection from creditors since June and last week it gained court approval to liquidate its assets and close its remaining stores.
Sears Canada said earlier this week that Wednesday was the last day it will honour extended warranties. Refunds are available only to customers who purchased a product protection agreement in the past 30 days.
It will continue to accept Sears gift cards and redeem Sears Club Points throughout the liquidation sales. All purchases will be final, and are therefore not eligible for return or exchange.