Sears caught the market by surprise with an announcement that it would sell its Kenmore products on Amazon.com and integrate its Kenmore Smart appliances with Amazon Alexa.
The announcement reflects a variety of market conditions: Amazon's burgeoning presence in ever more product categories; Sears’ ongoing efforts to reverse sales declines, even in appliances; and the health of the appliance market, which has proven to be a relative bright spot in retail.
Sears is hardly alone in opting to sell on Amazon. According to a June 2017 SLI Systems survey among retail professionals worldwide, 44% said they sell on Amazon. For those that do, the No. 1 reason was to increase sales.
In its latest quarter, Sears’ comparable store sales slid 12.4%, and the retailer singled out appliances sales, along with apparel and lawn and garden sales, as key factor. Dreary appliance sales dragged down last year’s results as well.
By comparison, US appliance sales rose 5.6% in 2016, according to Euromonitor data.