A funny thing happened on the way to potential bankruptcy — Sears shares are trading higher on news it is joining with the company that may have done the most to hurt it: Amazon. The department store chain announced plans on Thursday to sell Kenmore-branded appliances on Amazon.com. The products will also be compatible with Amazon’s Alexa platform, Sears said.
Shares of Sears’ stock were climbing more than 25 percent at one point in trading before the market’s open following this news.
“The launch of Kenmore products on Amazon.com will significantly expand the distribution and availability of the Kenmore brand in the U.S.,” Sears CEO Eddie Lampert said in a statement.
Sears said a new “Kenmore Smart” skill for Amazon Alexa will allow customers to control their appliances — changing the temperature on an air conditioner without leaving the sofa, for example.
“We’ve been saying all along that retail is NOT dead, but has to change with the times,” says Situs RERC President Ken Riggs. “This move to Alexa and Amazon for Sears is clearly one step in the right direction toward innovation for the legacy retailer, and is likely to have a positive impact on shopping malls and commercial real estate overall. The Apple Store, upscale restaurants and movie theaters with power-reclining chairs are helping malls to rebuild and reposition. We encourage more of this sort of innovation and we will continue to see old-line retailers adopting the Amazon way.”
Just last month, Sears opened a store — the first of its kind for the company — that sells only mattresses and appliances. Plans are also underway to open additional freestanding Sears stores dedicated to these two categories — what Sears has called “two of its strongest.”
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