Sears Holdings Inc. is chopping its age-old ties with Whirlpool and will no longer sell the company’s products — including huge household brands like Maytag and KitchenAid.
Needless to say, these companies have been married for a looong time: Whirlpool (then known as The Upton Machine Company) sold its first washers to Sears, Roebuck & Company in 1916, and Sears has had a stake in the company since 1921.
But sometimes love loses its spark, rumors of their beef have been swirling (nailed it) since March.
So what happened?
According to a Sears memo sent to stores last week, “Whirlpool has sought to use its dominant position in the marketplace to make demands,” which would’ve forced Sears to increase its prices on their products.
But Whirlpool’s Chief Executive Marc Bitzer cites rising raw material costs as the reason for their price hike, and on a call with investors added that Sears only accounts for 3% of Whirlpool’s global business and that “The entire Sears business declined over time.”
Unfortunately, they still have unfinished business…
Which makes things a little awkward. Sears Holdings said it still plans to sell Whirlpool-branded products in its facilities until inventory is “depleted,” and Whirlpool will still manufacture items for Sears’ Kenmore brand.