According to the Chicago Tribune, Whirlpool, which stopped selling its branded products at Sears last year but still makes appliances under the retailer's Kenmore brand, has demanded that Sears return all merchandise that was received in the 45 days before it filed for bankruptcy.
In a letter filed in court last week, Whirlpool demanded that Sears “refrain from selling, disposing, or using … for any purpose whatsoever” the merchandise it received during that time without permission from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Whirlpool and Sears both declined to comment.
Earlier this month, Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, making the move to close 142 stores after decades of declining revenue and hundreds of store closures.
Sears listed $6.9 billion in assets and $11.3 billion in liabilities in the filing, which is the culmination of years of effort on the part of Sears and Chief Executive Officer Eddie Lampert to turn the company around. Lampert had long vowed to bring Sears back to the days when it was a leading retailer, but his efforts failed to take off with consumers. Sears hasn’t had a profit since 2011, and Lampert has faced criticism that he let the physical stores deteriorate. Sears has sold the Craftsman brand over the years, and is mulling an offer for the Kenmore appliance brand.
Under the bankruptcy plan, Lampert will be replaced with a three-person committee. He will remain as chairman of the board; Mohsin Meghji, a managing director of the M-III Partners corporate advisory firm, was appointed chief restructuring officer.
Soon after, one of Sears Holdings’ vendors, InGear Fashions, filed suit against the company, claiming nearly $840,000 in unpaid invoices. And Sears announced that it would not be publishing its iconic holiday catalog this year, although its Wish List will still be available online.