Today, the Wall Street Journal reported yet another rehash of inaccurate assertions and negative speculation about Sears Holdings and its future. It is unfortunate that there are those who continue to root against a company that employs so many people, is important to so many communities, and serves so many members. At this year’s annual meeting of stockholders, we displayed a decade of negative headlines that predicted the imminent demise of our company. Yet we are still here and there are many hardworking Americans whose livelihoods depend on our success.
For those interested in our side of the story, Sears Holdings has publicly stated its position on the issues several times through this blog site. We have explained in detail our efforts to close unprofitable stores, negotiate with vendors to reduce their risk in doing business with us, concentrate our investment on our ShopYourWay membership program, and reduce costs throughout our company – all as part of our effort to succeed. In addition, we have directly shared our views with external stakeholders through our Chairman’s letters.
We continue to have strong relationships with over 50,000 vendors and suppliers. Any changes to our agreements over the years have been part of the normal discussions between retailers and vendors. While we will not comment on specific terms of our vendor and supplier agreements, the below comments on the Wall Street Journal article are worth considering:
- In relation to Whirlpool, we were unable to reach an agreement that would have allowed us to offer Whirlpool products to our members at a reasonable price. As a top seller of large appliances in the U.S., Sears Holdings will continue to carry a wide range of products from our own award-winning Kenmore brand, as well as products from LG, Samsung, GE, Frigidaire, Electrolux, and Bosch.
- We have a long-term relationship with LG and continue to do significant volumes of business under mutually agreed terms. It is common for vendors to offer incentives to retailers for earlier payments. Though unreported, LG specifically told the Wall Street Journal reporter “LG greatly values our relationship with Sears, and is absolutely committed to our strategic partnership long into the future.” This is a sentiment we share.
- The Wall Street Journal also highlighted that “Levi’s has stopped supplying women’s jeans to Sears”, but failed to mention that we still carry their Men’s and Kids’ jeans and continue to have a great relationship with Levi’s. Incidentally, we stopped carrying Levi’s women’s jeans a few years ago.
We will continue to work hard to make our company successful and continue to serve the needs of our millions of members.