Sears Master Agreement Protection: Understanding the Importance

As a retailer, Sears has been a household name for decades. However, with the rise of e-commerce and intense competition, Sears has faced significant financial challenges in recent years. In response, the company has taken steps to protect its assets through a Master Agreement Protection program.

What is the Sears Master Agreement Protection Program?

In 2013, Sears Holdings Corporation implemented the Master Agreement Protection (MAP) program, which aimed to secure its assets by limiting the exposure of suppliers and other creditors. The program is a type of contract between Sears and its suppliers, which outlines the terms and conditions of their business relationship. Importantly, the MAP program provides certain legal protections to Sears that can help it avoid bankruptcy, protect its assets, and continue to operate.

How does the MAP program work?

Under the MAP program, suppliers agree to continue selling goods to Sears, even if the retailer is unable to pay immediately. In exchange, Sears agrees to pay its suppliers within a certain period of time and provide them with additional assurances, such as collateral or guarantees from third-party lenders. In the event that Sears defaults on its obligations, the supplier’s claim is subordinated to other secured creditors, such as banks.

Why is the MAP program important for Sears?

The MAP program has been crucial for Sears because it enables the company to continue operating while facing financial challenges. By securing the support of its suppliers, Sears can continue to maintain inventory levels, which is critical for any retailers’ success. Additionally, the MAP program helps Sears preserve cash and protect its assets, since it can negotiate payment terms that are more favorable to the company.

What are the benefits of the MAP program for suppliers?

While the MAP program primarily benefits Sears, suppliers can also benefit from the program in certain ways. For example, suppliers can negotiate more favorable payment terms with Sears, including extended payment periods and higher interest rates. Additionally, the MAP program provides suppliers with some assurance that they will get paid, even if Sears faces financial difficulties.

What are the risks associated with the MAP program?

There are risks associated with the MAP program, both for Sears and its suppliers. From Sears’ perspective, the program can become too expensive if the company defaults on too many payments. On the other hand, suppliers risk losing money if Sears goes bankrupt. In such cases, suppliers may be lower on the list of secured creditors, which means that they may not receive all the money they are owed.

In conclusion, the Sears Master Agreement Protection program is a critical contract between Sears and its suppliers that helps the company preserve cash, protect its assets and continue operating despite financial difficulties. While the program comes with some risks, it also provides benefits to both Sears and its suppliers. Ultimately, the success of the program depends on Sears’ ability to manage its finances and maintain a strong partnership with its suppliers.