Sears Holdings deepening financial troubles have forced insurers and banks to raise the cost of guaranteeing payment to vendors, rattling the retailer's supply chain as the company heads into the key holiday season.
The move by these financial intermediaries—in an opaque but vital quarter of the retail business where makers of goods ranging from apparel to TVs seek to insure they get paid—comes in the wake of unusual steps Sears has taken to raise cash for operations. In the past three weeks, the retailer twice has turned to its billionaire CEO Eddie Lampert's hedge fund for a cash infusion—first as the anchor on a $400 million loan and then again Thursday as a buyer for most of its stake in the ailing Sears Canada. Sears aims to raise $380 million with that deal.
Sears spokesman Chris Brathwaite said the company is on track to raise $1.45 billion this year, a sign of its "financial flexibility" and capacity to meet its obligations. He said the company has the financial resources to work directly with vendors and that there has not been a significant impact on its supplier relationships following the events of the past few weeks.