Employees at Liquidation World in Chilliwack face an uncertain new year after the firm that bought the store two years ago announced plans last week to shut it down.
The announcement comes just two weeks before Christmas.
And while the Chilliwack location is expected to remain open until at least January, the news is hitting employees hard.
“It’s brutal,” said one staff member who asked his name not be used.
It’s not clear how many jobs will be affected by the closure. A spokesperson for Liquidation World did not return calls in time for The Progress’ deadline.
However, across Canada the closure could affect 1,500 workers.
The local discount retailer was rebranded from a Liquidation World to a Big Lots store after the struggling LW brand was purchased by Big Lots in 2011.
The lease of the local building is up at the end of January and it’s not clear if the store will remain open until then.
Big Lots is North America’s largest closeout retailer and officials have decided to cut their losses in Canada. Lower than expected profits and competition were named as the primary reasons.
Company officials said the publicly traded Big Lots was not able to “gain the necessary traction” in the Canadian market since the purchase, citing expected losses of more than $50 million for 2013. The wind-down is starting now and all 78 stores are expected to close by April 2014, including the headquarters in Brampton.
Big Lots is the parent company of Liquidation World stores, which it also owns.