Sears Goes (Costco) Clubbing with Craftsman Tools
Carol Spieckerman, president of newmarketbuilders, wrote in a 2010 RetailWire BrainTrust Query that Sears was “quietly incubating and activating the business models and platforms that will transform retail’s future.”
Among the reasons for Ms. Spieckerman’s optimism about Sears’ future was the company’s decision to license its Craftsman, DieHard and Kenmore brands for sale in other outlets.
Ms. Spieckerman wrote, “While J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, and Macy’s obsess on bringing exclusive brands into their stores — and as Best Buy explodes its private portfolio in categories once reserved for national brands — Sears is dusting off the brands it already has and counting the royalty checks. Creating new brands is so 2009!”
Sears as a brand marketer rather than a retailer may have gotten its biggest boost to date with the revelation that Costco will begin selling Craftsman tools in its clubs across the country as early as this weekend.
“As we externalize the brand, we’re trying to be thoughtful about reaching shoppers we aren’t reaching at Sears today,” Kris Malkoski, vice president and general manager of the Craftsman brand at Sears Holdings, told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s an opportunity to bring the equity of this product to households that aren’t going to Sears.”
Costco is not the first retailer outside of Sears Holdings to sell Craftsman products. Ace Hardware began selling the brand last year and will have Craftsman tools in roughly 1,000 stores by the end of this month. Menards, a DIY chain, is also testing sales of Craftsman tools in stores throughout the Midwest.
“The Sears retail format is one that is substantially challenged by competitors and too much square footage,” Michael Dart, a retail strategist at Kurt Salmon, told the Trib. “Separating the brands outside of Sears recognizes there is probably a lot more value in the brand names than in the destination of Sears.”
- Sears Holdings drills into Costco clubs with Craftsman tool offerings, hopes to tap new customers – Chicago Tribune
- BrainTrust Query: We Have Met Retail’s Future, and it is Sears – RetailWire
Discussion Questions: What will the Crafstman deal mean for Costco and Sears as retailing entities? What will it mean for the Craftsman brand?