Sears Canada sells stake in 8 retail stores

Sears Canada Inc. continues to sell off assets with the announcement Monday that it has a deal to sell its half ownership of eight properties for $315 million.

Stores to remain open, retailer says

Commuters walk past a Sears store in Toronto. Two weeks after announcing the closing of five stores, Sears Canada has sold its half interest in eight others. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Sears Canada Inc. continues to sell off assets with the announcement Monday that it has a deal to sell its half ownership of eight properties.

Montez Income Properties is paying $315 million for the 50 per cent stake in four regional shopping centres, two strip centres and two open-format retail centres.

Sears owned the properties, in Quebec, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador, with The Westcliff Group, which is retaining its ownership. Sears said it will keep its stores on the properties open.

The news comes two weeks after Sears Canada announced it was closing five of its stores, including its high-profile Eaton Centre property in Toronto for $400 million, again as a means to leverage value.

"As we have previously stated, unlocking the value of assets is a lever we use as a way to help create total value," said Sears Canada president Doug Campbell in a press statement. "The joint venture assets we are selling to Montez impact neither our store operations nor our ability to serve customers.”

The retailer has been shedding assets and cutting jobs in an effort to turn around its struggling operations, which are challenged both by new discount competitors and online retail.

The company will still have 111 Canadian stores after the five store closures announced last month.

The sale of its properties to Montez will be complete by Jan. 8, 2014.

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