nuclear arsenal slowly takes shape Soldiers on Europe's streets dent NATO's defense edge CORRECTED-UPDATE 6-Sears Canada to close stores, cut jobs in restructuring (Corrects 10th paragraph to show that Sears Canada will continue to sell home appliances. Previous said the company plans to shift away from that area.) TORONTO, June 22 (Reuters) - Sears Canada Inc said on Thursday it plans to cut jobs and close about a quarter of its stores as it restructures its operations after a steady decline in sales due to competition from big-box retailers and online merchants. Like many department stores, the Toronto-based company has struggled for years to attract fashion-conscious shoppers who have embraced apparel stores more adept at keeping up with fast-changing clothing trends. The company, which in 2012 was spun off from U.S. department store pioneer Sears Holdings Corp, said it planned to close 59 of its 225 stores and cut 2,900 of its 17,000 workers as part of a restructuring approved by an Ontario bankruptcy court on Thursday. Sears Canada also plans to file a motion to request permission to suspend certain monthly payments to its pension plan because it is running low on cash, according to court documents. It also intends to stop payments to a post-retirement benefit plan providing retirees with life insurance and medical and dental benefits, according to the filing. Retail experts said they were not convinced the company would succeed in its effort to remain in business, but noted that it could get more for its assets by winding down its operations in several phases, rather than pulling the plug through a liquidation. “It’s just been baby steps toward the ultimate end,” said Sally Seston, managing director at Retail Category Consultants Inc. “A forced liquidation becomes a fire sale.” “One way or another, it’s not going to be an easy road for them.
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