Sears Holdings is once again turning to Amazon in the hope of bringing customers back to the department store, this time by offering full-service tire installation for orders on all tire brands sold on Amazon. Sears first partnered with Amazon in 2017, offering Alexa-powered Kenmore products on the site. The retailer added select DieHard automotive products by the end of the year.
The rollout will begin in the coming weeks for customers who live within range of 47 Sears Auto Centers in eight metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. As part of the service, tires purchased on Amazon will be shipped to local Sears stores.
This is the first time that DieHard all-season passenger tires will be sold on Amazon. While much of the spotlight of this deal is on Sears for taking another step in a new channel, Amazon continues to reap the benefits of carrying another company’s product without having to invest in real estate.
Sears CEO Eddie Lampert has seemingly looked into every way possible to save the brand and infuse cash into the retailer. Most recently he offered (via his hedge fund ESL Investments) to acquire Kenmore, the Sears Home Improvement and PartsDirect divisions, valuing the latter two assets at $500 million. In April, the retailer put 16 profitable stores for sale on an online auction platform. The potential spinoff comes more than a year after Sears sold the Craftsman brand for $900 million.
The retailer had more than $1 billion in debt to start 2018, and ESL Investments has constantly been lending the retailer cash to keep it afloat, with the most recent round totaling $210 million. Despite the cash influx — totaling more than $2 billion over the past three years — and the ongoing sales of its more valuable assets — Sears has shown no discernible improvement in its market positioning. Q4 same-store sales still dipped 15.6%, while its $182 million in net income was primarily propped up by benefits of the new tax reform package, which totaled $470 million.
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