Sears Takes In-House Brands Out of House

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It used to be that Sears’ in-house brands – Craftsman, Kenmore, and DieHard – could only be found at Sears-owned stores and acted as magnets to consumers, bringing them in so they’d check out other products.

But those days are over. Following in the footsteps of a deal to sell Craftsman at Costco and agreement to DieHard products at Meijer, Sears is reportedly prepping to sell its Kenmore goods elsewhere as well, marking the first time that Kenmore goods would be sold elsewhere in the brand’s 98-year history.[more]

“Sears is looking for a chief marketing officer for its appliance line, with responsibilities to include driving purchase of the appliances through ‘external groups,’ such as Costco,” the Wall Street Journal reported. The CMO posting noted that the position would entail evaluating “evolving marketing landscape to identify new, emerging ways to reach current and future target audiences.”

The Journal points out that if Kenmore makes such a deal, Land’s End will be the only big-name brand that is only sold through Sears, unless you count all the people who only shop at Land’s End through catalogs or online.

“Could we go external with Kenmore? Potentially, yes,” Sears spokesman Larry Costello said to the Journal. “When might we is to be determined. It could be months or longer.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, in an article titled “Sears Downplays Stores, Builds House of Brands,” Sears has considered selling ancillary Kenmore appliance products, such as vacuums and humidifiers, through Costco, as well as putting the Kenmore name on products it doesn’t already sell, such as wind turbines and solar panels.

“These are great brands that really are the jewels in the crown in Sears,” said Michael Stone, CEO of the Beanstalk Group, to the Tribune. “Most retailers would kill to have brands like that to bring people into the stores. Maybe someday these brands will be all that is left of Sears.”

Goes to show that Sears is ready to go where the customers are, even when they aren’t in their own stores.

[Above, examples of original web programming, including the Emmy-nominated “So You Wanna Be a Designer,” from Kenmore’s robust YouTube channel]

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