Did Amazon just send Sears a life line with their Kenmore deal?
If you can’t beat ‘em, join them. That appears to be the thinking behind an announcement yesterday by Sears Holdings that its Kenmore brand will now be sold on Amazon.com.
The deal between the two companies calls for Amazon to own the inventory, but Sears will ship orders to customers from its warehouses. Innovel Solutions, a Sears business unit, will deliver and install the appliances.
Selling on Amazon will help boost the e-tailer’s efforts to become a force in the appliance category. Sears is hoping that having Kenmore available on Amazon will help the brand regain lost market share. Kenmore, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, has seen its share of the category fall from 16.7 percent to 10.3 percent over the past four years.
“Working with Amazon is perfectly aligned with our omnichannel strategy to unleash the power and service of Kenmore and support the brand’s growth,” said Tom Park, president of Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard brands at Sears Holdings, in a statement. “This collaboration is the first of its kind for Kenmore, broadening its accessibility to the next generation of American families outside of Sears branded retail channels.”
Sears Holdings also announced yesterday that Amazon’s Alexa voice-activated technology will be integrated into its full line of Kenmore Smart appliances.
“Voice is a natural interface for the smart home, so we’re thrilled that customers can now simply ask Alexa to interact with their Kenmore Smart appliances,” said Charlie Kindel, director of Alexa Smart Home. “We’re excited that Kenmore has added Alexa functionality to these products and we think customers will love the convenience of cooling their home, starting their laundry, and more, using only their voice.”
While analysts don’t see the Amazon/Kenmore deal having a major effect on Sears Holdings’ top or bottom line performance, it does provide some positive press for the struggling company. Shares of Sears stock increased 11 percent in trading yesterday to close at $9.60 while Amazon’s stock closed at an all-time high of $1.028.70. Shares of Home Depot, Lowe’s and Whirlpool were all down on the Amazon/Sears news.
- Sears Launches Kenmore Products on Amazon.com, Including Alexa-Enabled Smart Appliances – Sears Holdings
- Sears to Sell Kenmore Brand on Amazon – The Wall Street Journal
- Amazon’s latest assault wipes $12.5 billion off Home Depot, other appliance-seller stocks – CNBC
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What impact will Amazon’s deal to sell Kenmore appliances have on Sears Holdings and other retailers and manufacturers in the category? Does Amazon or Kenmore stand to benefit more from the deal?