Oct. 24 (UPI) — Sears stores will no longer carry Whirlpool appliances, a Sears Holdings Corp. internal memo sent to stores disclosed.
The store chain cited a pricing dispute for abandoning a relationship that began in 1916. Maytag, KitchenAid and Jenn-Air brand appliances, all made by Michigan-based Whirlpool Corp., are included in the cutting of ties.
Whirlpool will continue to manufacture appliances for Sears under the Kenmore brand name. Sears and Kmart, which is owned by Sears Holdings, will focus on selling Kenmore, LG, Samsung, General Electric, Frigidaire, Electrolux and Bosch products, CNBC reported Tuesday.
Whirlpool informed Sears in May that it would stop shipping its products to Sears retailers. The plan was confirmed Tuesday in a conference call to analysts by Whirlpool CEO Marc Bitzer.
Whirlpool has sought to use its dominant position in the marketplace to make demands that would have prohibited us from offering Whirlpool products to our members at a reasonable price,” Sears wrote in a memo to employees. It added that Whirlpool sales would continue until inventory is depleted.
Sears Holdings’ financial position has sharply declined in recent years, as has its dominance in appliance sales. In 2002 Sears sold 40 percent of all major appliances in the United States, It share fell to 22 percent by 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing market research firm TraQline.
The move ends a 101-year relationship between the companies. The Upton Machine Company, Whirlpool’s predecessor, sold its first appliance, a washing machine, to Sears in 1916.
Sears Holdings has closed more than 300 of its stores in recent years.