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Sears suppliers revolt, hastening its decline

Illustration: Sam Jayne / Axios

Shoppers at Sears can no longer find Whirlpool appliances or women's Levi Strauss jeans and now the Wall Street Journal reports they are low on one of the holiday season's hottest toys — the L.O.L. Surprise — because its manufacturer is questioning Sears' financial health.

Why it matters: Sales at Sears accounted for roughly 1% of U.S. GDP in the 1960s, but decades of competition with big-box retailers and online merchants, combined with recent mismanagement by CEO Eddie Lampert, have whittled down Sears' financial position thoroughly. Now suppliers are reducing shipments, tightening financing terms, or refusing to work with the retailer altogether out of fear of being stiffed if Sears is forced into bankruptcy, the WSJ reports.