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The Globe and Mail

Sears Canada slashes prices on 5,000 items

Under pressure to turn around its struggling operations, Sears Canada Inc. has slashed prices on more than 5,000 products by up to 30 per cent.

It's the first significant change customers will see as a result of the transformation being undertaken by new chief executive officer Calvin McDonald, a former veteran of grocery giant Loblaw Cos. Ltd.

"Our customers are demanding great value every day of the week," he said in a statement on Thursday. "Sears has a history of being known for great value across the store every day."

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The move, aimed at taking on rivals such as discount titan Wal-Mart Canada Corp., reflects the urgency of the new CEO to revive the department-store retailer as it rushes to improve operations before the arrival of another discount powerhouse – U.S.-based Target Corp. – by early 2013.

Last month, Sears slashed 400 jobs after having cut 70 before Christmas, yet other signs of the retailer's troubles as it moves to find new solutions.

U.S. parent Sears Holdings Corp., meanwhile, is closing up to 120 of its U.S. stores to cut costs.

Now Mr. McDonald has moved to cut prices in Canada, such as men's Dockers pants for about $50, from $75 previously, or one-third off. Sears is also introducing weekly specially-priced must-have "wow" items.

In an interview, Mr. McDonald said the latest round of price reductions are different from previous discounting at Sears. "We have not done anything to this size or magnitude."

He declined to provide internal forecasts of the impact of Sears' investment in lower prices, and how much it could lift sales. He added: "The department store model is changing. We need to be priced more competitively every day."

Other examples of the lowered regular prices: Women's Jessica sweater for about $30, previously $40.

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Pyrex metal bake ware up to about $13, previously up to $16.

Natuzzi leather sofa now almost $1,000, was almost $1,600.

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