Sears signs sales partnership with Amazon amid mass shutdown of stores
Sears said Thursday that it would begin selling its full line of Kenmore-branded appliances on Amazon in what seems like the struggling retailer’s a last-ditch attempt to boost its bottom line, reports Forbes. This partnership includes smart appliances that can be integrated with Amazon’s smart voice assistant, Alexa.
“We continuously look for opportunities to enhance the reach of our iconic brands to more customers and create additional value from our assets,” Sears CEO Eddie Lampert told Reuters.
The company also said that this deal marks the largest distribution of Kenmore appliances outside of Sears’ own stores and websites. However, this partnership comes at a time when Sears has expressed doubts about its ability to remain operational, having committed to closing 43 stores this month in addition to the 150 closures announced in January.
Forbes reports that ahead of its deal with Amazon, Sears underwent several measures beyond closing stores to counteract its declining sales, including selling off real estate and some of its brands as well as cutting costs.
Earlier this year, Sears sold its Craftsman brand to Stanley Black and Decker for $900 million and has been considering similar options for its Kenmore and Diehard brands.
In a rare bright spot for the company, upon the announcement of its partnership with Amazon, Sears’ stock jumped more than $1 in pre-market trading, putting it on track for its best day in over four months.
According to the Associated Press, Sears has said that its Kenmore appliances will be fully integrated with Amazon’s Alexa, which could add to the brand’s consumer appeal. However, an expert warned that Sears’ deal with Amazon could further impact the retailer’s in-store sales.
“It puts Sears into a marketplace that is very price competitive and where fulfilment costs are high; this is something that may be challenging for margins,” Neil Saunders, managing director of retail at research firm GlobalData, told Reuters.
In addition to Sears’ motivations for entering the partnership, this deal speaks to the broader interest of brick-and-mortar retailers to increase their online sales. Sears liquidation sales will begin on Friday, where customers can expect to save up to 50 per cent.
For now, the appliances will be sold only to Amazon customers in the U.S., but reports indicate that Sears may consider international sales in the future.
–With files from Reuters and the Associated Press.
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.