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That's should be illegal to use pensions as a slush fund.
I thought it was illegal.

I think what finished Sears is when they got out of the credit business.
I'm not a millionaire, we had a Sears card for the last 40 years I bet, and we used it when ever we made a major purchase. Fridge/stove/washer/dryer/dishwasher/furniture/TV's......all those things went on the Sears card. When they canceled all their cards a year or more ago, it left us no reason to shop there.

I don't understand how the Bay says in business. I haven't made a purchase at a Bay in over 20 years I'm sure.
 

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The difficulty is - and I'm not saying this because I like it or have much sympathy - that when businesses become big enough, they have shareholders and other investors, and those people view themselves as being at the front of the line, and build it into contracts. The employees may have invested years of their lives, and contributions, but the investors think in terms of "We put XXX millions into this company and we expect to be paid back".

When someone who runs a small business and employs 3 people goes under because they had a not-particularly comprehensive business plan, we say "Too bad, so sad". As more and more large employers find themselves encountering similar sorts of we-can't-go-on-like-this-anymore circumstances, there will clearly need to be changes to the law, concerning who gets paid off first and how much. The thing is, that when LOTS of people get laid off, there is risk of them becoming a significant public burden (given that retail sales was never the big wealth creator for those behind the sales counter, and that things like employer-supported health-care plans defray a big chunk of the costs of single-payer systems). So the public has a vested interest in the law that dictates such matters.

The ripple effects of many malls losing Sears as their anchor store is a chill-inducing prospect. If you've ever visited THE mall in a smaller town, that has lost it's anchor store, you'll know what I mean. They become like ghost towns, quickly.
 

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I thought it was illegal.

I think what finished Sears is when they got out of the credit business.
I'm not a millionaire, we had a Sears card for the last 40 years I bet, and we used it when ever we made a major purchase. Fridge/stove/washer/dryer/dishwasher/furniture/TV's......all those things went on the Sears card. When they canceled all their cards a year or more ago, it left us no reason to shop there.

I don't understand how the Bay says in business. I haven't made a purchase at a Bay in over 20 years I'm sure.
When we were in Scotland recently, we visited a number of fantastic established department stores, with exquisite fittings, gorgeous wooden bannisters, and impeccable selection. They were bustling with customers, and busy sales staff. I don't know how they do it. Here's Jenner's in downtown Edinburgh. Reminds one of the heyday of the old Eatons on College Street in Toronto....except this one is still in business.

So why do department stores there do business that department stores here can't? It's not like we don't have tourists, and it's not like they don't have tons of people on limited incomes. Is it because their stores are in locations that were paid off 80-100 years ago, and our stores are in malls where the rents are prohibitive?

 

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Look what happened to GM when they were on verge of bankruptcy. Same exact thing happened using the employees to their advantage. They however managed to recover! I don't think Sears is in the same camp!
 

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That's should be illegal to use pensions as a slush fund.
I don't know the full story but in the video link, they mention that the Defined Benefit pension plan is under funded. Sears did not use the funds from the pension as a slush fund. Sears contributions were "short" at a given time most likely due to movements in the markets or economic assumptions not being met. An under funded plan is not illegal and (unfortunately) is common.
 

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I don't know the full story but in the video link, they mention that the Defined Benefit pension plan is under funded. Sears did not use the funds from the pension as a slush fund. Sears contributions were "short" at a given time most likely due to movements in the markets or economic assumptions not being met. An under funded plan is not illegal and (unfortunately) is common.
So the fund was mismanaged then? Was it the markets, or just underfunded by the corporation to use elsewhere?
Even if it was the markets, they're supposed to be on top of those funds to keep them up to snuff.

I still believe that the employee, NOT the employer should be in charge of their own retirement fund.
 

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I still believe that the employee, NOT the employer should be in charge of their own retirement fund.
In a perfect world, yes. I suspect a lot of folks working in retail are not going to be savvy enough to do so. I'm not putting them down, or insulting their intelligence. I just think there are a lot of folks working in retail who not necessarily well-educated, and are happy simply putting in a decent day's work for someone who can tell them what needs doing, and takes care of the details. They may well acquire the savvy to do so eventually, but few plans allow choice points where the employee could be asked whether they want to take over management of their plan or want to leave it with the employer for now.
 

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So the fund was mismanaged then? Was it the markets, or just underfunded by the corporation to use elsewhere?
Even if it was the markets, they're supposed to be on top of those funds to keep them up to snuff.

I still believe that the employee, NOT the employer should be in charge of their own retirement fund.
Mismanaged may be a bit strong. Some factors are uncontrollable (inflation, interest rates, market conditions) but the idea is your paying a fund manager to be ahead of the curve. That is a whole other discussion on the value of fund managers. A pension fund can be over funded and next day, under funded if their portfolio takes a hit for various reasons.

The Defined Contribution vs Defined Benefit plans - 10 years ago, my brother was presented with an opportunity to switch from a DB plan to a DC plan by his employer. My advice to him was to switch to a DC given his age and the probability that he would leave for another job and/or the risk that the pension fund is not able to pay him out at retirement age. He currently is still with the same employer and the fund is currently in a over funded position. It was a calculated decision, however, it is looking like the DB could have been the better option but time will tell. He still has a ways to go before retiring.
 

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In a perfect world, yes. I suspect a lot of folks working in retail are not going to be savvy enough to do so. I'm not putting them down, or insulting their intelligence. I just think there are a lot of folks working in retail who not necessarily well-educated, and are happy simply putting in a decent day's work for someone who can tell them what needs doing, and takes care of the details. They may well acquire the savvy to do so eventually, but few plans allow choice points where the employee could be asked whether they want to take over management of their plan or want to leave it with the employer for now.
I'd say a lot of people working in retail these days have a fair bit of post-secondary education. Sign of the times.

Never judge a book by it's cover.
 

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Underfunded pensions are the way of the world these days. In the Public Sector alone they were underfunded by $186 billion:


In the "Private Sector", OPG tops the list at $3.3 billion and Air Canada at $3.2 billion:


Lots of others - pretty much all defined pensions these days. Hey, how did we know rates wouldn't stay at 10% forever?

Of course, non of it compares to the Public Sector which trumps all corporations combined.
 

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When we were in Scotland recently, we visited a number of fantastic established department stores, with exquisite fittings, gorgeous wooden bannisters, and impeccable selection. They were bustling with customers, and busy sales staff. I don't know how they do it. Here's Jenner's in downtown Edinburgh. Reminds one of the heyday of the old Eatons on College Street in Toronto....except this one is still in business.

So why do department stores there do business that department stores here can't? It's not like we don't have tourists, and it's not like they don't have tons of people on limited incomes. Is it because their stores are in locations that were paid off 80-100 years ago, and our stores are in malls where the rents are prohibitive?


An entirely different culture and retail climate, although that retail climate is starting to change.
 

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It is not a question of being well educated but strictly competency. Understanding general financial markets, various risks associated with specific investments can help but that doesn't mean you will be a successful investor. I think most people fear investing or the markets per se and would rather have someone else manage that aspect. Again, a whole other debate on the performance of fund managers and other financial advisors.
 

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One of our friends has been a Sears employee for 40 years and is probably gonna get [email protected]#$. Its a disgrace that big companies can get away with this. I hope she gets some compensation. Not funny starting over.
 

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One of our friends has been a Sears employee for 40 years and is probably gonna get [email protected]#$. Its a disgrace that big companies can get away with this. I hope she gets some compensation. Not funny starting over.
The current laws protect employees for their basic pay and vacation pay (Company Directors are personally liable for these amounts), however, there is no protection per se for severance and pension payments. The option for an employee to sue the employer (or class action against the employer) is a possibility but that ends up pennies on the dollar. It is sad - businesses can go belly up and that's a risk any employee has to face.
 

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An entirely different culture and retail climate, although that retail climate is starting to change.
I was only immersed in it for several weeks, and your experience is no doubt more extensive. So, just what is it that distinguishes the two contexts and cultures when it comes to retail? What are the aspects that might be "invisible" to us here, but oh-so-critical there? Is it the notion of a "traditional" vendor? Is it the distances people do (or don't) travel to shop? Is it the social aspect? Is it the distribution of goods across merchants? Is there any element you would consider generalizable or transportable to our context? And since you note it is changing, what aspects might be undermining/changing it there that may be doing so here? Or were we the coal-mine canary and they're just feeling it now? I'm seriously curious.
 

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I bought my last few appliances from Sears. All the bigbox stores' pricing is in lockstep and I like Sears delivery plan. And the history it had. I recently bought a gift card for someone's birthday, and I didn't buy Sears like I usually would, because of the current climate.

I am going to miss B&M's when they are driven out of existence. I suppose lots of younger people won't know what they're missing, because they never experienced them in their heyday or use them at all now. But a world of shopping on a computer screen and then waiting for the UPS truck to show up is the future - in probably everything from musical instruments to groceries.

And it doesn't help when some people around here promote the idea of buying everything in the US and 'getting it shipped to the border'. Good plan. :rolleyes: That worked so well down south, when they decided to quit buying anything made in the US, thereby killing a lot of on-shore jobs. And of course that lead to the current political situation and the movement to 'make America great again'. Let's not get into a position of having to 'make Canada great again'. For a couple extra bucks, we can at least extend the world we live in now and not rush too hastily into a world I don't think many of us are going to like as much. Or I could be wrong, maybe it is what most Canadians want, who knows?
 
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