Sears and Whirlpool
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
25 October 2017
Whirlpool says good riddance to Sears
Sears and Whirlpool aren’t getting along. Sears announces it will stop selling Whirlpool brands in its stores because prices are too high.
Bizarre? Yes, because Whirlpool also manufactures Sears’ own branded Kenmore appliances and will continue doing so. So it looks like the appliance manufacturer believes its brand is a premium brand and therefore commands a premium price. Sears doesn’t see it that way.
As we watch Sears painfully spiral into death, this is just one more confounding move in a series of them. For those playing the game at home, lets review. Sears decides it’s a great idea to sell Craftsman to Black & Decker. (Oh by the way, Lowe’s Home Improvement announces it will start selling Craftsman tools in their stores.) Sears also announces it has partnered with Amazon to sell Kenmore appliances. Because I guess it wants to give people yet another reason not to buy anything in its stores.
And then this whole Whirlpool thing happens.
Sears finds itself in obvious free fall, creating a row with the manufacturer who makes a brand that represents one of the only bright spots for the retailer. How can a decision to pull a manufacturer’s nameplate not have a chilling effect on Kenmore? I’d love to be a fly on the wall in that conversation.
“Like many consumers, Whirlpool is asking itself why go to Sears? When the manufacturers start acting like rats on a sinking ship, what does Sears have left?”
A conversation between Sears and Whirlpool
Sears, “We think you are charging too much for Whirlpool.”
Whirlpool, “I am sorry, you feel that way. Your stores are dying and, quite frankly, you don’t sell enough of our products to make it even worth our while.”
S: “Yeah? Fine. Then we won’t sell Whirlpool anymore!”
S: “Wait, you mean you really aren’t going to lower your prices?”
S: “Um…bummer, that sucks. So will you still make Kenmore for us? I mean, we brokered this deal with Amazon and everything.”
W: “Oh you’re selling Kenmore on Amazon? Sure, we’ll still make Kenmore, for now. We will see how this Amazon thing plays out. I assume you just want us to stop shipping appliances to your stores then?”
Whirlpool also manufactures Maytag, KitchenAid and Jenn-Air brands, also disappearing from Sears stores. Sears now focuses on competitors like GE, Samsung and LG. Brands. Looks like Whirlpool does not really need Sears either.
The end results in a manufacturer no longer seeing value in having its products in Sears stores. It’s too much trouble working with Sears on price. When does making Kenmore for Sears also become too much of a problem? Like many consumers, Whirlpool is asking itself why go to Sears? When the manufacturers start acting like rats on a sinking ship, what does Sears have left?
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