Fredericton — While many are still absorbing the impending collapse of another Canadian retail giant, the government of New Brunswick is continuing to “expect more” from Sears Canada.
Even though Sears Canada said Tuesday that it plans to close its remaining 130 Canadian outlets, Opportunities New Brunswick is doubling down on its recent partnership with the retail chain.
As it prepares to roll out new driver’s licences and identification cards this fall, the New Brunswick government announced today that Sears’ infamous engraving kiosks will be the exclusive printers of the documents.
“It’s makes perfect sense if you think about it,” said ONB Minister Francine Landry. “The new polycarbonate licences will have photos and personal information that are laser-engraved.
“We all know that Sears are the engraving experts in New Brunswick!” Landry exclaimed. “Their engraving shops are the only reason that most New Brunswickers have gone near a Sears store in the past 20 years. Where else can you get a flask with your initials on it?”
The opposition Tories are calling the additional investment in Sears Canada yet another questionable Liberal expenditure in a failing company, not unlike the Atcon fiasco.
Last January, the Gallant government first announced an $8.7-million partnership with Sears Canada to create more than 500 contact centre jobs in Saint John and Edmundston. This news came despite rumours of insolvency across North America. Not long afterwards, Sears announced it was unable to sustain its U.S. operations, and many suspected Canada would be next. In April, Sears Canada announced a $321-million loss and sought bankruptcy protection in June.
When reached for comment, Sears Canada would not elaborate on its new partnership with the New Brunswick government. However, they did talk about great deals on “lifetime warranties” for Craftsman and Kenmore products.