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Sears seeking creditor protection

Last Updated Jun 22, 2017 at 10:48 am PDT

A Sears Canada outlet is seen Tuesday, June 13, 2017 in Saint-Eustache, Que. Sears Canada's stock plunged Wednesday morning following a report that it's preparing to seek court protection from creditors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Sears shares halted before the opening bell for the TSX

Sears will close 20 department stores across Canada

TORONTO – Trading of shares in Sears Canada has been halted ahead of the Toronto Stock Exchange’s open.

Sears Canada says it is seeking court protection from its creditors in order to restructure its business.

Halts are routinely issued when key developments could affect a company’s share price.

It says it will cut thousands of jobs as it restructures under court protection from its creditors.

The struggling retailer says it will close 20 department stores, 15 Sears Home locations, 10 outlets and 14 Sears Hometown stores. It expects to eliminate approximately 2,900 jobs at its stores and Toronto head office, and hopes to exit court protection this year.

The only the full-line Sears store in BC that will close is in Kamloops. Hometown stores in Creston, Sechelt and Grand Forks will be shuttered. One Sears Outlet store in BC will close – Abbotsford, while no Sears Home stores in the province will shut down.

The company also says Sears Canada pensioners will continue to be paid because its assets are separate.

Sears Canada’s stock has already fallen dramatically amid questions about its future.

The retailer has piled up losses and seen its stock nosedive, losing more than 80 per cent of its value in the last year.

Last week, the company announced “significant doubt” about its ability to operate in its current form.

It has also gone through several leadership changes in recent years.

Shareholders rank after lenders and creditors in bankruptcy proceeding, so company shares could plunge if it does go the court route.