Sears is adding Alexa support to its Kenmore smart home appliances

21 July, 2017, 00:59 | Author: Jeannette Greene
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Smart appliances from Sears and its Kenmore brand are joining the list of hardware that can be used through voice commands to Amazon's Echo lineup of speakers and other Alexa-enabled devices.

When a user visits in the future to search for a refrigerator, Sears' Kenmore is going to be a top brand that pops up, says Park.

"The launch of Kenmore products on will significantly expand the distribution and availability of the Kenmore brand in the U.S.", Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert said in a company release.

The move marks the first time Sears has sold products directly through the site, spokesman Howard Riefs said in an email.

Lampert says the move will "significantly expand" the availability of Kenmore appliances to USA consumers.

With this deal, Sears is looking to expand its reach and grow the Kenmore name brand.

Hoffman Estates-based Sears announced the partnership with Amazon Thursday and declined to comment on the terms of the deal. Customers will also be able to control the company's smart appliances using Amazon's voice-controlled assistant, Alexa.

The retailer will need to maximize Kenmore's value as much as possible, especially after selling the iconic Craftsman tools brand to Black and Decker for $900 million earlier in 2017.

As The Wall Street Journal notes, Sears has closed hundreds of stores, including more than 250 this year.

Amazon, meanwhile, was No. 14 on the TWICE ranking, with $228 million in major appliance sales in 2016. Sears stock is down 41.7% for the past year.

"These are people over 50 who live in the suburbs - a demographic Amazon has never done well with", said Lee Peterson, executive vice president of brand, strategy and design for WD Partners. The S&P 500 index is up almost 14% for the a year ago.

The announcement before the opening bell Thursday sent shares of Sears soaring 11 percent. (It has about 1,100 locations left.) In March, Sears executives said they had "substantial doubt" about the company's financial viability, sending shares of Sears plunging by almost 13 percent.


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