Retail giant moves to suspend benefits, pension payments

Employees past and present would lose entitlements as part of restructure

Retail giant moves to suspend benefits, pension payments
Struggling retail giant Sears Canada is moving to suspend benefits for former employees, alongside some payments to its pension plan, as it continues its restructure.

Sears will ask the Ontario Superior Court to let it suspend post-retirement health and dental benefits, which cost about $800,000 each month, and post-retirement life insurance premiums, costing $245,000 a month, as well as $3.7 million per month in special payments its company retirement plan.

In a statement to HRD Canada, a Sears spokesman said the company faced "cash constraints", which "have resulted in challenges for a number of valued stakeholders" - among them staff facing redundancy, retirees, suppliers and landlords.

It was also unable to make severance payments to staff whose positions had been eliminated, as part of its court proceedings, the spokesman said.

Sears was granted court protection from creditors on June 22. The company previously indicated that it planned to suspend health and dental benefits, and life insurance, while it restructures its business.

Sears will be back in court on July 13, where it will seek to extend its court protection until October 4, The Canadian Press reported.


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