Sears Canada thrown on the sales block

 The Sears Holdings empire plans a strategic retreat from Canada.

In a three-sentence announcement released Wednesday morning, Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears Holdings Corp. said it is "exploring strategic alternatives for its 51% interest in Sears Canada, including a potential sale of Sears Holdings' interest or Sears Canada as a whole." 

The company said it plans to hire an investment bank to help with the sale. It didn't say which firm.

Sears did say that Sears Canada's board of directors intends to cooperate with the mother company in the process "to achieve value for all shareholders." 

As Sears has struggled in the United States, it has also struggled in Canada, where sales have declined for the past several years. The Canadian division faces expansion efforts from U.S. powerhouses Walmart and Target, and also a customer-base with an affinity to Canadian-grown retail names, including RONA, the country's home improvement leader. 

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