Sears CEO Says Suppliers Are Taking Advantage Of “Dire Predictions” About Retailer

Image courtesy of Kate Cox

Eddie Lampert, the manifesto-writing chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings, really wishes that members of the media would quit reporting that his company is imminently doomed. Why? The news reports are causing problems in the retailer’s negotiations with its suppliers.

In a new blog post on “SHC Speaks” , Lampert claims that many of his issues with suppliers have been addressed, but that some vendors are “trying to take advantage of negative rumors” and “dire predictions” about Sears.

One can probably understand why a wholesaler might be cautious about offering generous terms to just about any retailer these days. While Sears has never filed for bankruptcy (Kmart, the other part of SHC, did in 2002), vendors know that they could be left holding an empty toolbox and a stack of invoices if that happened.

“There have been examples of parties we do business with trying to take advantage of negative rumors about Sears to make themselves a better deal – a deal that is unilaterally in their interest,” Lampert blogged in his latest mini-manifesto. “In such a case, we will not simply roll over and be taken advantage of.”

He specifically calls out one of those suppliers, One World, a Chinese company that is one of the manufacturers of Craftsman power tools. One World is part of the Techtronic conglomerate, which in turn was reportedly one of the companies interested in buying the Craftsman brand last year.

Instead, the company now wants out of its contract with Craftsman, allegedly so it can make more tools for other companies after a nine-year relationship with Sears Holdings.

Lampert is getting ahead of the story here because One World is threatening a lawsuit to get out of its contract, which could make potentially embarrassing information about Sears Holdings public. (Update: Sears Holdings let us know that the company filed an action against One World today.)

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