US-based stockist Sears has blasted one of its power tools suppliers for "seeking to embarrass" the company in a bid to "force us to let them out of their contract".
One World, a subsidiary of China-based Techtronic Industries, has supplied Sears with power tools and related accessories under the Craftsman brand for almost a decade .
Following what Sears Chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert called "dire predictions about our company's future" that have "done harm to our business" One World has sought to refuse to perform under its Supply Agreement unless Sears agrees to new demands - according to Lampert.
In a blog post, the CEO said that One World is filing a lawsuit against Sears in a bid to "embarass" Sears through the media to force them to let them out of their contract.
"But Sears has nothing to be embarrassed about — we have lived up to our word under our contract, and we will take the appropriate legal action to protect our rights and ensure that One World honors their contract."
Sears has paid One World more than $868 million since 2007 and helped One World build a formidable presence in the tool industry, added the Sears boss.
"There are important competitive reasons why we will fight hard to hold One World to honor our agreement. One World also manufactures power tools for other companies – by reducing its commitment to Sears, One World can do more business with those other companies by diverting resources now committed to Sears without incurring the cost of expanding its manufacturing or outsourced procurement capacity.
"If we allowed One World to break their agreement, it would effectively reduce the flow of products they are required to deliver to Sears, harming our ability to sell tools, supply parts, and provide goods to Sears’ members and customers. We won’t allow that to happen. We are generally not a litigious company, but we will fight back to protect our legal rights, hold One World to its contractual agreements, and ensure that our customers are not affected by this business dispute."
In this developing acrimonious business story, Sears has reportedly now filed its own lawsuit against One World.
Sears recently sold the Craftsman brand to Stanley Black and Decker, but will continue to offer Craftsman-branded product through its current retail channels via a perpetual licence from SBD.