Over at the ToolGuyd forum, Fred posed this question: [Is] Sears Selling off the Craftsman Brand?
Taking a look at recent Sears press release, it does look like they have some big plans for Craftsman, as well as Kenmore and DieHard, which fall into their KCD company.
Here’s the crux of what they said, minus some unnecessary words. But you can check out the full release via the link above.
[We have] decided to explore alternatives for KCD.
Our iconic KCD brands are beloved by the American consumer and we believe that we can realize significant growth by further expanding the presence of these brands outside of Sears and Kmart.
As the “internet of things” develops and as more of our lives become connected, we believe SHS and KCD stand to benefit significantly from broader accessibility.
By evaluating potential partnerships or other transactions that could expand distribution of our brands and service offerings, we can position both businesses to achieve greater success.
Here’s what we believe this message translates to:
We want to sell Craftsman (and other KCD brands’) products outside of Sears.
What else could it mean?
We have long ago speculated that Craftsman might split from Sears, but after more than 6 years, this has yet to happen. Technically. KCD is somewhat considered to be its own business within Sears, but a true spinoff has not quite happened.
Sears has experimented with Craftsman expansion before, such as their 6+ year arrangement with Ace Hardware.
Amazon also started carrying a selection of Craftsman tools, and even sells a whole lot of them directly.
Do you want to see Craftsman tools sold outside of Sears, at more retail places?
If I were an executive at Sears, I would have 3 concerns about this:
1. It’s possible that only a limited selection of tools will be available at outside retailers. Maybe the most popular hand and power tools, plus some seasonal items.
2. How will warranty or satisfaction guaranteed exchanges work? Will consumers still have to visit a Sears store for this, and how would it work elsewhere?
3. Will sales associates at other stores be fully informed about Craftsman products? (It can sometimes be hard to find Sears associates that are knowledgeable about certain Craftsman products and product categories.)
4. Will an expansion outside of Sears stores dilute the brand or its reputation?
Despite my hesitations, there is also great potential if Sears is able to expand their Craftsman distribution partnerships to other online and even in-store retailers.
If they are able to do so, their task will then be to sell to retailers, who will foot some of the marketing and selling costs.
What do you think will happen? What would you like to see happen?