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Canadian retailers shed 1,600 jobs

Major Canadian retailers Best Buy Canada and Sears Canada announced layoffs totalling some 1,600 on Thursday, a move analysts are blaming on the popularity of online shopping and the shrinking demand for supersized brick-and-mortar stores.

Sears Canada (TSX:SCC) says it's letting go 700 workers across the country in a bid to "right-size" and restructure its business. About 360 jobs will be from its department stores, and another 300 will be from its distribution centres. The remaining will be cuts to head office and other support areas.

Meanwhile, electronics retailer Best Buy also confirmed that it will close eight Future Shop and seven Best Buy big box stores across the country as part of a "transformational plan" to replace them with small concept web and mobile locations over the next two and half years.

The closures will result in 900 job losses, around five per cent of its workforce, according to the company's Canadian head office in Burnaby, B.C.

Retail analyst John Winter says layoffs following the frenzied Christmas shopping season are commonplace.

"February is the cruelest month in retail because you find out how you've done in the holiday season," he said. "It's cyclical."

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