Sears to sell Kenmore brand on Amazon

Bill Rogers
July 21, 2017

When a user visits in the future to search for a refrigerator, Sears' Kenmore is going to be a top brand that pops up, says Park., Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has announced a strategic partnership with ailing department store operator Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) that will bring Alexa-enabled Kenmore appliances to Amazon's e-commerce platform.

But as Amazon extends into industries from social networks to grocery delivery, the deal with Sears is raising questions about the extent to which home-improvement stores can withstand competition from the ecommerce giant.

The company said Thursday that it's struck a deal to sell its Kenmore appliance line on Amazon. It's available now for Prime customers using its Amazon app on iPhones, with an Android version coming soon, according to Amazon's FAQ on its website.

For now, the appliances will only be sold to U.S. Amazon customers, but Park said Sears may consider worldwide sales in the future. Sears is also launching a line of smart appliances that can be voice controlled with Amazon Alexa.

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"That said, in the short term it may create even fewer reasons to visit Sears' shops, which could put further pressure on that side of the business", Saunders added.

For example, consumers can tell their Alexa smart speaker to set the air conditioner for a specific temperature.

"These are people over 50 who live in the suburbs - a demographic Amazon has never done well with", said Lee Peterson, executive vice president of brand, strategy and design for WD Partners.

Shares of Sears Holdings were up over 20% following the announcement. The S&P 500 index is up almost 14% for the a year ago.

Sears' stock pared some of the early gains but was still up 14 percent, on track for its best day in about four months. But the announcement fits in with Sears' effort to generate cash from its Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard brands by widening distribution outside its stores since a year ago. The company's stock has lost almost 95 percent of its value in the past decade, from a peak of $195.18 a share in 2007.

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