Whirlpool says Sears bankruptcy will have 'very limited' impact

Whirlpool said Monday it expects no impact to its long-term financial results in the wake of Sears Holdings’ bankruptcy.

The appliance maker said Sears accounted for only 2 percent of its global net sales as of Sept. 30. Whirlpool added that 1 percent of its aggregate accounts receivable exposure was tied to Sears, and it had an “immaterial amount” of Sears-related inventory.

“We believe the Sears bankruptcy will have a very limited short-term impact on our results of operations as consumers adjust to the new retail landscape and we work through the one-time impact of accounts receivable and inventory write off,” Whirlpool said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Benton Harbor, Michigan-based company added that it does not expect Sears’ bankruptcy to materially impact its financial results over the long term. After past disruptions to its distribution network, Whirlpool has been able to offset potential declines through increased sales elsewhere, the company said.

“Our products are sold where consumers want to shop with distribution across all big-box retailers, the homebuilding channel and independent retailers,” Joe Liotine, president of Whirlpool Corporation North America, said in a statement. “We will continue to provide a great array of product offerings and services that meet consumer needs, offering strong brands that deliver innovation to consumers every day.”

Whirlpool is scheduled to issue quarterly earnings results later this month. It doesn’t expect any Sears-related impact to its current earnings guidance.

Whirlpool and Sears ended a century-long relationship last year amid a dispute over pricing, a development that reduced Whirlpool’s exposure to the floundering retailer. In October 2017, Whirlpool confirmed that it would no longer supply products for sale in Sears and Kmart stores, although it continued to make products sold under Sears’ Kenmore brand. At the time, Whirlpool CEO Marc Bitzer said Sears represented about 3 percent of Whirlpool’s global business.

Whirlpool is the owner of other appliance brands, including Maytag, KitchenAid and Jenn-Air.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
WHR WHIRLPOOL CORP. 213.44 +5.54 +2.66%
SHLD n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

Sears, once the largest seller of home appliances in the U.S., trailed Lowe’s, Home Depot and Best Buy in 2018 sales, according to an annual report published by TWICE.

Shares of Whirlpool rose more than 2 percent in recent trading.