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Sears Canada Inc. is preparing to shutter its doors for good and put 12,000 people out of work. It would be yet another blow for the country's department store workers, which have seen their ranks plummet as seismic change roils the retail industry.

As recently as 2009, the number of department store employees topped 150,000 nationwide, according to Statistics Canada data. Since then, employment has tumbled nearly 30 per cent.

Target Corp. appears to have made a sizable contribution.

In January of 2015, the U.S. retailer said it was pulling out of Canada; by April, it had closed the last of its 133 stores. Target employed roughly 17,600 people in Canada at the time of its exit announcement. Between February and April of 2015, the ranks of department store employees plunged by 17,504.

Sears will ask the Ontario Superior Court on Friday for approval to start liquidating its remaining 131 locations. Liquidation sales would be expected to start next week and last 10 to 14 weeks, The Globe reported on Tuesday.

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