April 22, 2018

Sears hops on Alexa bandwagon in move to spruce up appliances

21 July 2017, 01:00 | Yvette Williams

Sears + Amazon=Bad News for Whirlpool, Home Depot?

Kenmore breaks free of brick and mortar with Amazon deal

According to the company, the expansion of Kenmore-branded products to Amazon "marks the broadest distribution of Kenmore...outside of Sears-branded stores and related online retail platforms".

This the company's latest strategy of a store model with strictly mattresses and appliances in a new store in Texas.

The full line of Kenmore Elite, Kenmore Pro and Kenmore Smart majaps will be available on Amazon, as will Sears Home Services and Innovel Solutions delivery, installation and extended product protection.

Sears Holdings and Amazon have added Alexa functionality to Kenmore's smart appliances.

The deal also provides Amazon with a high-profile entrée into major appliances, a category which has so far eluded the e-tailer save for third-party sales.

The partnership would also offer Amazon an in-depth look into the home appliance business, giving it valuable data about the industry's operations, its pricing structures and seasonal fluctuations, analysts said.

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The deal gives Sears a chance to restore its relevance while also affording Amazon a new offering in the market for appliances. Customers can enable the Kenmore Smart skill in the Alexa Skill Store, link their account and then begin asking Alexa to interact with their Kenmore Smart appliances.

Sears sells big-ticket Kenmore appliances such as refrigerators and air-conditioners only in its Sears, Kmart and Sears Hometown stores. That aspect was particularly appealing to Amazon, Amobi said.

As the company has struggled to keep their branches running and profitable, it led the CEO to close down many branches as it had already went from 3,500 to 651 in just the past 6 years due to real estate struggles.

Sears has not turned a profit since 2010, and past year it reported losses of $2.2 billion.

The announcement before the opening bell Thursday sent shares of Sears soaring more than 19 percent in morning trade.

Sears' stock pared some of the early gains but was still up 14 percent, on track for its best day in about four months.

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