Sears stops selling Whirlpool appliances

Whirlpool Corporation - WHR - Stock Price Today - Zacks

Sears will only sell what Whirlpool products are now in inventory.

Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool Corporation will no longer sell appliances from its brand portfolio in Sears stores, effective Friday, according to an article by The Associated Press in The Detroit News today.

But Whirlpool has warned investors about pressure from lower priced competitors, warning that profits had fallen more than 11% this year due to pressures in markets including China and Latin America.

Sears department stores will no longer sell Whirlpool appliances, which include the Maytag, KitchenAid and Jenn-Air brands, the company announced.

Whirlpool informed Sears in May of its decision to stop providing products, Chief Executive Officer Marc Bitzer said Tuesday on an earnings conference call.

Sears said that, moving forward, it will be pushing the sales of the other brands sold in its stores, like LG, Samsung, GE and Frigidaire.

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"We are continuing to supply Kenmore brand products to Sears, and this applies only to our branded business", Bitzer said.

"The entire Sears business has declined over time and now represents about three percent of our global business, of which the branded portion is only a small fraction", Bitzer said. Sears told employees in a memo sent to stores last week.

Sears said in the memo that Whirlpool made pricing demands "that would have prohibited us from offering Whirlpool products to our members at a reasonable price". Whirlpool has increased prices on its appliances, citing higher raw material costs.

Sears' CEO Eddie Lampert slammed Whirlpool's retail vendors earlier this year, CNBC reported, saying, "We will not simply roll over and be taken advantage of - we will do what's right to protect the interests of our company and the millions of stakeholders we serve".

Sears shares fell as much as 2.4 percent to $6.40. Sears announced it would close more than 300 Sears or Kmart locations this year as part of the cost-cutting campaign.

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