Sears will begin selling Kenmore appliances on Amazon.com, including smart appliances that can be synced with Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa. The company says its Kenmore skill for Alexa allows users to control their Kenmore smart-enabled home appliances with simple voice commands. In the Chicago area, Kenmore goods will be available to Amazon customers beginning in August. This is the broadest distribution of Kenmore products outside of Sears stores and related online sites, according to Sears.
The deal comes after a string of troubles for Sears, which has lost ground to rivals ranging from Walmart to Amazon.com and has relied on a combination of asset sales such as its Land's End clothing and Craftsman tool lines as financial lifelines.
"This is part of our plan to unleash the power of the Kenmore brand outside of Sears", Tom Park, president of Kenmore, said in an interview.
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The news seemed to invigorate investors, with shares of Sears Holdings jumping 19 percent on Thursday. "We already have the best appliance bricks-and-mortar stores, and now we're partnering with the best online retailer". Anyone in the house can download the Kenmore Smart AC app on their smartphone, follow the easy instructions and connect their smartphone or tablet to the AC unit.
Sears, which is the No. 3 majap retailer in the US, according to TWICE's 2017 report, has spent the past year exploring alternatives for its private Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard brands. Shares of Sears Holdings were up over 20% following the announcement.
Sears, once the country's largest retailer, dominated the industry for years by building a collection of well-known brands such as Kenmore and DieHard as well as Craftsman, which it sold to Stanley Black & Decker earlier this year for an estimated $900 million. Home Depot and Whirlpool are down more than 4%. Just this week, he lent the retailer $200 million from his own hedge fund.
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