Sears deal with Amazon to sell Alexa-enabled appliances causes 19% jump

Nichole Vega
July 21, 2017

GE and Whirlpool have already integrated similar support across their respective products, and now "the full line of Kenmore smart appliances" - air conditioners, refrigerators, and more - can be controlled with a new Alexa skill, Kenmore Smart.

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

Today's announcement gave Sears shares a big bump, a welcome improvement for the home goods retailers, which has been struggling for years.

Alexa controls Amazon Echo, a speaker which lets the user call a cab, order pizza or shop on Amazon among other things.

Sears is calling on Alexa to help it sell more Kenmore appliances.

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.

"This collaboration is the first of its kind for Kenmore, broadening its accessibility to the next generation of American families", Tom Park, who leads the Kenmore brand at Sears, said in a statement.

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".

But some seemed unconvinced that the deal could do much to reverse Sears' misfortunes. Lampert's continued cash injections and ownership of the chain's unsecured debt continues to convince some investors that Sears will avoid filing for bankruptcy protection, but ultimately the ability to appeal to a wider consumer base on Amazon may be the company's best long-term move yet. The S&P 500 index is up almost 14% for the a year ago.

Sears announced the Amazon launch in a press release Thursday. The retailer's stock was up about 13 percent as of 11 a.m.

Shares of home-improvement stores including Home Depot, the most valuable in the United States, sank on Thursday following news that Amazon plans to spread its reach into appliance retailing.

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