Stanley Black & Decker has just announced their plans to buy the Craftsman brand from Sears, for $900 Million. PDF Announcement Here.
First, we’ll take a look at Stanley Black & Decker’s statements, and then we’ll talk a little about what this deal will mean for us tool buyers and users.
Much of the following information comes from Stanley Black & Decker’s Investor Relations presentation. The “translations” are to the best of my understanding of the situation.
Obtaining Rights To Develop, Manufacture And Sell Craftsman Brand In Non-Sears Retail, Industrial & Online Channels
Translation: Stanley Black & Decker can develop, manufacture, and sell Craftsman tools as they please.
Sears To Continue Developing, Sourcing & Selling Craftsman In All Sears Retail Channels Under Perpetual License Agreement.
Translation: Sears can continue business as usual for Craftsman brand?
Perpetual License Allowing Sears To Continue Selling In Sears-Related Channels (Royalty-Free For 15 Years, 3% Thereafter).
Translation: If Sears is still around in 15 years, they’ll start paying Stanley Black & Decker a royalty based on products sold.
SBD To Significantly Increase Availability And Innovation Of Craftsman Products And Add Manufacturing in the U.S. To Support Growth.
Translation: Expect to see new Craftsman tools sold outside of Sears. What about current tools??
Strong Organic Revenue Growth Potential – To Contribute ~$100M Of Average Annual Revenue Growth Per Year For Approximately Next Ten Years.
Translation: Stanley Black & Decker intends to grow the Craftsman brand.
Transaction Structured To Minimize On-Going Risks Associated With Sears.
- SBD Assuming No Contractual Credit Risk From Sears Relative To Transaction
- No Tie To Sears Organic Growth Trajectory
- No Incremental Obligation To Supply Sears
Translation: Stanley Black & Decker should be minimally affected in case Sears suffers continued decline.
Stanley Black & Decker sees this as an opportunity to work into their made in USA expansion plans. There’s also mention of their MAC Tools Mobile Conversion Program, and they see this as an opportunity to expand product distribution points at the industrial channel.
There’s also mention of their growing US tools and storage products manufacturing base.
There’s an interesting breakdown of Craftsman’s retail breakdown – how much each product segment contributes to their around $1.9 Billion in [annual?] sales.
- Hand tools: ~25%
- Power tools: ~10%
- Tractors and mowers: ~25%
- Lawn & garden equipment: ~15%
- Tool storage & garage: ~20%
- Other: ~5%
What Does This Mean?!
The way I understand this, both Sears and Stanley Black & Decker will develop, manufacturer, and sell Craftsman tools.
If accurate, this would mean that Craftsman’s current partners, such as Vaughan, Apex Tool Group, TTI, Chervon, Western Forge, and other OEMs, would continue to develop and manufacture tools to be sold at Sears.
Stanley Black & Decker has already announced their plans to develop, manufacture, and sell Craftsman tools.
Additionally, they make specific mentions of expanding USA manufacturing.
If Sears sales should continue to decline, and they declare bankruptcy, which – if any – of their OEM partners will continue to work with Stanley Black & Decker? The Craftsman brand will live on, but I don’t think the same can be said about the current Sears/Craftsman and OEM arrangements.
As I understand the announcement, there is the possibility for there to be 2 different lines of Craftsman tools. Tools developed, manufactured, and sold by Sears and their current Craftsman OEM partners, and tools developed and manufactured by Stanley Black & Decker to be sold through their retail and distribution partners.
What about the Craftsman lifetime guarantee on [most] hand tools? And if there’s an issue, where would tools be exchanged? Will Sears no longer do this?
Does this mean we’ll start seeing newly developed Craftsman tools made in the USA? Which ones?!
Will Stanley Black & Decker go the “lick and stick” route and manufacture existing designs under the Craftsman brand, or will the tools be specially developed for their new brand?
I’m thinking there might be redundancy in a lot of categories, where existing Stanley Black & Decker tools would be a good fit. Hammers, wrenches, sockets, etc. They already have many well-designed tools at every quality and price level.
Will there be new retail partnerships? Perhaps a surge of Craftsman hand tool SKUs at Home Depot? Craftsman power tools at Lowes? Craftsman tool storage at Lowes? Through industrial dealers, such as MSC?
Right now, there are a lot of questions and few answers, but I have a positive outlook on this.
I am sure that Stanley Black & Decker had plenty of time to plan things out. It’s been several years since a marketing executive mentioned at an event that “like other brands they were watching the situation closely,” or something to that effect, when the subject of a potential Sears bankruptcy and Craftsman sale came up.
The only thing I find surprising about the situation is that the purchase price is only $900 Million. They also recently announced plans to purchase Irwin and Lenox tool brands, for nearly $2 Billion.
See Also: Here’s Why Stanley Black & Decker Purchased Irwin and Lenox Tool Brands
But, this is also a complex situation. Sears can continue to develop, manufacture, and sell Craftsman tools royalty-free for 15 years. After that, it’s 3% per year. What’s 3% of nearly $2 Billion? $60 Million.
SBD will pay: Annual Cash Payments Of Between 2.5% – 3.5% On New SBD Craftsman Sales Through Year 15 (2.5% Through 2020, 3% Through January 2023, And 3.5% Thereafter).
Wow, just wow. It will be very interesting to see where this goes.
Am I surprised? Yes and no. I would have thought that buying the Craftsman brand would have been more desirable for TTI. But on the other hand, Stanley Black & Decker is a more varied tool brand, in regard to their existing tool design and manufacturing capabilities.
I had not considered the possibility for Sears to continue developing and manufacturing Craftsman tools after selling the brand.
If anyone at Stanley Black & Decker is reading this, I have 2 requests: PLEASE bring some of your European tool brand designs to the USA. I love Facom hand tools, and would love seeing some of them under Craftsman branding. PLEASE develop more benchtop tools, such as a good drill press, a good small jointer, and a good disc and small belt combo sander.
What do you think this will mean for us tool buyers and users?
Thank you to John B for the heads-up!
More Info(PDF via Stanley Black & Decker Investor Relations Presentation)
The Wall Street Journal article mentions that Stanley will continue to honor the Craftsman warranty.
Too bad it is not, the original lifetime warranty. But, on a side note SB&D has been on a buying spree. Toolguyd broke a story about the purchase of Lennox and Irwin a few months back. Add Bostitch, MAC, Porter Cable, Dewalt, now Craftsman. Plus a few European brands not available state side, plus SB&D holds the patent for”Flexvolt”. Fingers crossed but hopefully, ‘made in America’ will start to mean something again. P.S. thanks for posting the link about the warranty info.
Looks like the “SEARS” Craftsman C3 line is now officially dead. You can no longer find or get anything on either the Sears site or Shopyourway… My first ones were NiCad 75th Anniversary (2002) set of a light, circ saw and drill. I still use them all…
I saw the demise coming and stocked up on batteries and am slowly moving over to Ryobi One+ and DeWalt… I still have a bunch of drills and some specialty tools (router/nailer/zip tool/old radio with weather and that still works) and the lights (I love the spot lights for camping) so I can keep going for awhile. I used two of the drills yesterday (pre-screw countersink/level) and separate screw bit. It is great to have lots of drills with a project where you need different bits and can just use a separate drill for each one. I had four out yesterday… countersink, screw bit, masonry drill bit, masonry screw bit… I was building flower boxes and putting em on the house.
The many different types of 19.2/C3 drills over the years gives me an array of approaches from lights to built in levels (needed yesterday), stubbies to high torque old school…and like three of the old el cheapo Black Friday version with like two batteries (NiCad) and a bag I bought for a few years each year. It was like a free drill and bag. And I pull em out for little stuff and gave one to a neighbor kid once who’s eyes lit up when I did. They are almost throwaways… But some of the drills are really good ones also.
Oh, the DeWalt Tools, in general for building stuff are much nicer including the 60 volt (flexvolt) grinder from hell… And the Ryobi outdoor stuff is quite nice. I am weaning myself off of gas and cords…
There are 3d printed adapter to let c3 run on Ryobi batteries. And c3 batteries can be bought through Lowe’s and Amazon, if that helps.
They’re not even carrying batteries? That’s crazy. How many C3 sets are out there? I guess they want to force you to buy something new. Not a chance.
They want to bring back the Craftsman brand as you can tell by walking in Lowe’s and this is how they treat their customers.
Also worth noting that there is a big payment due to Sears in three years. I wonder if they can hold together long enough!
Someone will make sure to leave an office open just for that. Sears does know how to keep a sinking ship a afloat pretty well
Alas, you are correct. Sears has been on the ropes for a loong time. We saw the Kmart marriage, and that did not seem to enhance the profitability of either organization. Here in Melbourne Florida, the huge Sears store always seems to have more employees than customers. Fortunately, this is not the case at HDepot, Harbor Freight, and Lowes. Whew!
It is another sad chapter in department store history. Wards is gone, Sears and Kmart are dying is dying, and even Macy’s recently announced massive closures.
I guess the moral of this saga is, invest in Amazon stock.
Sears doesn’t take care of their store. It’s like they don’t care if anyone shops with them or not. There’s allot they could do to draw customers back in, like keeping up to date on what’s hot and what’s not. Bring their outdoor sporting goods back and compete with other stores that do well. Like SAMs, target, Home Depot, ect. Their CEO doesn’t think outside the box.
There might be a limit as to what could have been done to boost Sears sales.
They still pull in a lot of revenue, just no profit.
Lampert is fixed on making the Shop Your Way membership program to work, but I’ve just found it to be annoying. Instead of coupons, like the ones found in Craftsman calendars, there are “surprise points” and accrued points. But I never really felt it to be a true rewards program.
I almost feel that Sears is on a controlled decline.
There are things they could try to boost sales, but they just don’t want to try anything new.
They are trying to compete and be profitable in at least 3 markets:
Tools & Hardware
Their tools and hardware business – is hampered by better prices and selection on the Internet and not having enough of the stuff that goes along with tools (like lumber, pipe etc.) – that contractors buy at Home Depot and Lowes.
On clothing – I’d say that they either need to get out of the business or decide to become an off-price retailer like TJ Maxx , Marshalls and Ross. They have no cache to go high end where the other money seems to be.
On appliances – they are still big – but slipping. Maybe smaller more nimble appliance/auto parts stores would be better. If they sell off the Kenmore brand – who knows what that will mean.
Well they are smart keeping the right to still manufacture their own Craftsman tools. I like rewards programs but Sears has been know to cheat you on them, like on their tool of the month club, It was a joke!
Also they had some venders with some wild prices on their website.
I used to love Sears, but I find more deals at Lowes and Home Depot.
Our local Sears store used to draw customers in and I think they still could but it looks like it’s about to close anyway. I still see small hardware chains still doing well. So I think they could clone the competition. First they should work on getting more tool brands, then work on a good sporting good dept. the electronics I’d keep small but up to date and get more good brands like Sony and Panasonic, the brands walmart or SAMs doesn’t have much of. I would also love them to start a new USA line of platinum Craftsman tools on the same line with their new awesome tool chest that just came out.
I think it may be good news for the Craftsman brand. As a mechanic, Sears was the go-to place for quality US-made hand tools twenty years ago. Now I pay very l little attention to Craftsman tools. SBD may do good or it may drive the brand further downhill. Maybe they’ll market the mechanic tools as a lower-end alternative to Mac as well. Similar to Snap-On/Blue Point and Matco/Silver Eagle.
Hmmm that’s interesting. It sounds almost like we will see Sears Craftsman and SBD craftsman. I hope they are completely separate so none of the current Craftsman tools water down the Mac or Proto brands. I would be pleasantly surprised if the reverse were to happen and SBD threw clthe Craftsman name on existing Proto and Mac tools and sold them for a slightly more affordable price. You know the tool map is changing when the possibility of Craftsman tools in HD, Lowes, or even Walmart is a possibility.
This seems like a terrible situation. There are already too many variations in the Craftsman brand, like the Evolv crap. I guess that explains the cheap sale price, SBD doesn’t fully control the name/reputation, they still have to deal with Sears.
The Craftsman Proto/Mac line exists as Blackhawk currently. Anyone can tell which between the two has a recognizable brand. I own some Blackhawk, and it performs well, my only gripe is that the size markings are mixed in with the brand name and part number, and in no way stands out. E.G. Blackhawk 32010M 10MM all on the same level on the socket.
Craftsman is or was the most common name in tools. I hope SBD can return Craftsmans reputation to that of a price based, high quality, US made tool brand. I hope DeWalts USA push bleeds into Craftsman eventually, as they do have that deal with TTI currently, and apart from corded SawZalls with US assembly, I don’t know of another tool they put together here.
The Craftsman brand was the only asset worth saving from today’s Sears. I’m glad to see it survive and will be even happier if SBD brings it back to its former glory.
Don’t forget Kenmore. They’ll likely get a few hundred million out of that too.
Stanley will pay Sears about $900 million for Craftsman, which includes $525 million when the deal closes this year, $250 million after three years and a percentage of sales for 15 years. After 15 years, Sears will start paying Stanley 3 percent of the Craftsman sales it makes.
Percentage of sales to year 15, 3% thereafter.
“After 15 years, Sears will start paying Stanley 3 percent of the Craftsman sales it makes. Which will be zero because Sears will have been out of business 10 years at such time.”
Corrected for more accurate breakdown of the deal.
I always liked the Craftsman tools over others. That was until I made some mechanic friends…and then I was exposed to Mac Tools and SnapOn grades. Though I can’t justify the expense of SnapOn (it’s a trade tool for techs that make their living using them), I did move away from Craftsman (local Sears is a dump and no longer employs the older-handyman-walking-tool-database) to Kobalt and Husky mech tools. Its just that I would stay with Craftsman but not at their high prices and slow-to-adapt tools (Kobalt has red for SAE and blue for Metric with LARGE laser printed sizing). Only recently has Craftsman done this but still, Kobalt and Husky are cheaper.
Then there is the internet and youtube mechs showing brands other than those. I never heard of Tekton and found their impact sockets very well made and cost-effective.
I am sure this is no way a monopoly of StanleyBD (Dewalt..etc), but it is something to keep eye on (and maybe a shakeup of redundant tool brands).
I find the dual development line interesting but I think that Sears will do little along those lines. I think that most if not all “new” development will be by SBD. I would also like to know just how much of an increase of “Made in USA” will actually take place.
Would like to see ace hardware carry new premium hand tools from craftsman made under sbds direction and specs.
That does seem strange. What would be the motivation for sears to invest in the brand at all? SBD has far more to lose.
Two things have been steering me away from Craftsman tools lately. 1) The sears closet to my house closed. 2) A growing number of Craftsman tools started to be made outside the USA.
If this purchase brings Craftsman to closer retailers (Home Depot, Lowes, or even Amazon), and if more of their tools are made in the USA, this may be a positive thing.
Although my fear is they will dilute the brand and slap Craftsman stickers willy nilly on other tools SBD makes. Not to mention monopoly isn’t great for innovation and prices.
Its really not a monopoly though. With Husky and Kobalt being the house brands of the 2 biggest home improvement chains, SBD brands have had a hard time finding shelf space, especially with mechanics tools. The Craftsman deal gives SBD an open showroom at Sears which is not only good for SBD but could be a much needed boost for Sears. Imagine waking into Sears and having a full blown DeWalt section. I’d definitely start shopping there more if they started carrying more SBD products.
I am very hopeful that this could revive the Made In USA “Craftsman Industrial” line. Maybe the old Professional line in which Screwdrivers and Pliers were made by Western Forge who is owned by Ideal Industries (SK) and Wrenches and Sockets made by Danaher (Matco). The older Professional Wrenches were made by by Western Forge (Ideal) which is why may folks will say they were made by SK.
Apex’s companies make many tools for many brands including SnapOn, MAC, Matco, Cornwell, etc, There is such a huge cross pollination in the tool industry.
It would also be cool if Craftsman Industrial or Professional line might even be available for MAC Tool Trucks.
It will be interesting to see how SB&D lines up all of these brands, including recently acquired Lenox and Irwin. I would only add that the purchase of Newell Tool Group’s brands is not a done deal. It is reported that the purchase is scheduled to close the first half of 2017. We’ll see if this changes anything.
For those interested in what is happening within Sears Holdings, I will posts the issued statement from Eddie Lampert.
oh lynyrd, you are so wrong about the sk/ craftsman professional connection. the first cman pro wrenches were made by sk and came in stubby standard and long lengths. all fully polish and identical other than stampings to the sk counterpart. this was long before sk was owned by ideal. they were actually owned by facom.
the stubby was soon replaced by a fully polished raised panel and the standard length disappeared altogether. the long wrenches eventually transitioned into what was more than likely an armstrong made wrench.
over the years sk made a number of other items for sears as well. speeder handles, wobble extensions, flare wrenches, palm ratchets and some things i am probably missing. they can be identified by a “k” stamp. all before the sk bankruptcy and eventual purchase of sk by ideal.
to the best of my knowledge there has never been an ideal owned sk-craftsman connection.
I recall SK – when they were called SK-Wayne – part of Dresser Industries – before any connection with Facom.
The Husky brand also existed long before Home Depot. At one point they were part of New Britain *(as in Connecticut) Tool – which was acquired by Stanley. The various auto parts places near me – back in the 1960’s all seemed to carry a different brand of wrenches and sockets. Back then, each of these brands may have been independent. Some were better than others – some pretty junky – some professional.
The Auto-Part-store brands I recall were: Bonney Forge, Blackhawk, Fairmount, Herbrand, Husky, SK_Wayne, Thorsen, Truecraft (from Japan). Hardware stores seemed to carry Armstrong, Crescent, Martin, Proto, Williams, and Wright. Everyone seemed to have nice tool boards displaying the sockets and wrenches – up behind the counters.
Again, SK wrenches /screwdrivers are/were made by Western Forge. They are now linked by Ideal.
Western Forge was founded in 1965 as a joint venture with Sears as one of the investors. I think they indeed were founded to make things like Craftsman screwdrivers. Western Forge was sold to Emerson Electric (also owns the Ridge Tool Co – as in Ridgid pipe wrenches ) in 1981. It was sold again in 2007 and then in 2010 to Ideal – the present owner.
The Sherman- Kove Company (SK) predates all of this by decades – having been in business prior to WWI. When SK was bought by Symington-Wayne in the early 1960’s – they added the SK-Wayne to the name. Then came Dresser Industries buying them in the late 1960’s and Facom acquiring them in the mid-1980’s. More recently – I think Stuart posted about their bankruptcy sale to Ideal in 2010.
What I should have also said was that 2010 seemed to be a big buying spree year for Ideal. I think that it was also that year that they acquired to assets (machinery, tooling etc.) of Pratt-Read – who went bankrupt. I think that Pratt-Read had made lots of the look-alike screwdrivers that had been sold under the Klein, Stanley , Crescent and maybe even SnapOn names.
There would be no need for Craftsman Industrial or Craftsman Professional sub-brands if Craftsman tools were made to the proper quality level in the first place. Their very existence (Professional is gone and Industrial being phased out) indicates just how very wrong things went.
To be fair – even in their heydays of the 1960’s and 1970’s – Sears sold some of their electric tools under the “Craftsman Commercial” – brand to distinguish them from the DIY-focused ones. While we can look back on those times as the halcyon era of American manufacturing greatness – I recall that it was a mixed bag of stuff coming out of US factories – notably some autos out of Detroit were shamefully bad when it came to build quality and reliability.
Below is a Statement from Sears Holdings CEO Eddie Lampert about the corporation (Sears/Kmart/KCD(Craftsman). If it is too lengthy for this post I understand of course if it is removed or placed elsewhere:
Actions to Facilitate Strategic Transformation
This week Sears Holdings Corporation (“Sears” or “SHC”) announced a series of additional strategic actions to increase its financial flexibility and improve long-term operating performance. These actions will facilitate the transformation of Sears to a company focused primarily on driving value to our Shop Your Way members, building deeper relationships with them and becoming a more nimble enterprise.
While the company has spent many years diligently working to improve its unprofitable stores, we continue to have difficulty overcoming the significant underlying changes in the retail environment. In order to accelerate this transformation, we have decided to take further actions to stem the losses incurred by non-profitable stores and increase our liquidity. As a result, we have agreed to:
Close an additional 150 non-profitable stores, comprised of 108 Kmart and 42 Sears stores, to stem losses;
Enter into an agreement to sell the Craftsman business for a cumulative $775 million, with use of a 15-year royalty free license for the Craftsman brand and a 15-year royalty stream on all third-party Craftsman sales to new customers;
Generate up to $1 billion in liquidity through both a newly entered $500 million real estate backed loan, secured by real estate properties valued at over $800 million; and a previously announced $500 million standby letter of credit facility from certain affiliates of ESL Investments, Inc., issued by Citibank, N.A.; and
Market certain properties within the company’s real estate portfolio to further unlock value and increase liquidity.
STRATEGIC BUSINESS MODEL
Our new operating model will be centered upon the network created by our Shop Your Way membership platform and the capabilities built by our Integrated Retail strategy in order to provide more value and convenience to our members. We have tens of millions of active members, many of whom rely on Sears and Kmart to fulfill a meaningful amount of their household needs. We continue to build this network through meaningful partnerships with other companies, saving our members time and money and increasing our interactions across a connected platform. By taking stronger actions now to be more focused on these initiatives, we are laying the foundation to grow the company and operate more profitably, which we know is possible.
Over the last two weeks we have announced the closing of 150 stores (108 Kmart and 42 Sears stores). These stores collectively generated about $1.2 billion in sales over the past 12 months, but lost approximately $60 million on an Adjusted EBITDA basis over that same period. We expect to generate a significant amount of cash from the liquidation of the inventory and related assets of these stores.
The number of stores that close and the timing of some of the store closings could be affected by a variety of factors, including landlord negotiations, capital raising transactions, improvement in credit availability from our existing bank facility, and support from our vendors. We will be actively monitoring our store performance and will take additional actions if and when we deem necessary.
We also announced today that we have entered an agreement to sell our Craftsman business for $525 million at closing, $250 million in 3 years, use of a 15-year royalty free license for the Craftsman brand within Sears and Kmart and a 15-year royalty stream on all third-party Craftsman sales to new customers that could yield several hundred million dollars more over time. We are pleased to announce our agreement to restructure the ownership of our Craftsman brand, which will allow us to both realize value and participate in the expansion of its distribution and service offerings.
As we announced on December 29, 2016, Sears Holdings has obtained a secured standby letter of credit facility from certain affiliates of ESL Investments, Inc., issued by Citibank, N.A., of up to $500 million. In addition, we have entered a $500 million real estate backed loan, secured by real estate properties valued at over $800 million, against which an initial draw of approximately $320 million has been made. These actions will provide additional liquidity and flexibility as we work to close the asset sales previously referenced.
Further, our Board of Directors has established a Special Committee to market certain real estate properties with the goal of raising over $1 billion in proceeds. We have already identified diverse transaction opportunities to further unlock value and increase liquidity and expect the Special Committee will engage external advisors to help us market these properties over the next several months.
In the past we have focused on a variety of transaction types including outright sales, joint ventures, Seritage type transactions, and traditional sale/leaseback transactions, and expect these structures could be among the options considered by the Special Committee in connection with the marketing of these properties.
Q4 BUSINESS UPDATE
Sales have continued to be challenging during the quarter to date. Same store sales at Sears and Kmart for the first two months of Q4 have declined in the range of 12-13 percent. We have continued to manage inventory and costs closely and our current quarter to date Adjusted EBITDA performance is largely in line with last year, despite the sales declines. Our Home Services business continues to improve and we believe it is positioned to be a pillar of growth going forward. We are continuing to explore ways to maximize the value of our Home Services and Sears Auto Centers businesses as well as our Kenmore and DieHard brands through partnerships or other means of externalization.
Wow – lots to digest here – and I’m sure more will follow.
Seems like this is lots of “code” embedded in this announcement. When a company talks about liquidity – what comes to mind are questions about their ability to meet their debt service requirements, tax payments or possibly even payroll. To me the sale price certainly smacks of being a bit akin to a “fire sale” to raise cash.
Looking down the road – I can’t see how this can be good for Sears. My thought is that some folks only have one reason for shopping at Sears – and that’s a good selection of Craftsman tools. If the same tools can be had at Home Depot, Lowes or dare I say Wal-Mart – perhaps even at a discounted price – why bother even contemplating a trip to Sears
Not to mention, Kmart doesn’t sell beer!
I only go to Sears for Craftsman. I rarely even do that anymore.
Personally I don’t know what to think . My local sears is a ghost town . I guess if they were to sell American made craftsman stuff at HD it would be a reason to go in there . As it stands now I find the home Depot to be way to big . It’s full of all sorts of stuff . Not much for good tools tho . Need to go to the smaller industrial supply shops for the good stuff . So I think there is an opportunity here for Stanley . Stanley hand tools r pretty well all junk . They could come out with nice stuff and sell it as craftsman
Slot it just below proto and above the cheesy black Dewalt stuff
What smaller industrial shop did you have in mind? I just want to see if there is one around in my area.
I’m up in canada . I don’t think we get the same stuff at home depots here . Mine doesn’t sell any bosch cordless stuff at all . So I shop at a small tool house .
Local industrial supply shops tend to stock. McMaster might, as well as Grainger, though the prices are pretty horrendous without an established business account.
Look up industrial supply followed by your city name and you’ll see a few
It saddens me to continuously watch Eddie Lampert dismantle Sears and K-mart slowly dragging them down selling piece by piece.
It’s a hard sell to me to think of Sears or Craftsman as anything but Chinese junk. It may happen but sounds like a fire sale of a sinking company selling off it’s only claim to fame. Sears and K-mart just today announced closing of 150 more stores. Can’t be any worse for the Craftsman brand than what they have going now so it may be a good thing for consumers
SBD seriously has a real chance to give the Craftsman brand its rightful honor of being a great American tool. I’m very excited to see how this plays out.
I agree with this. With Trump being a fan of “buy American”, I think they can cash in with slogans like “This *IS* your Father’s Craftsman!” type ads…
Sounds like Eddie Lampert is running out of pocket change. $900M should keep him going for a couple more years…
Yup, he got to keep the bucket he is using to bail out the ship and he got cash to boot. It’s amazing how quickly other huge companies disappear from the landscape and this one keeps going on life support.
Wow that was unpredictable, anyways i found some good news
Milwaukee is coming out with a tool tracking device.
Nice! That’s exactly what I’ve been hoping for, a relatively easy way to track tools.
I don’t understand this. From Sear’s point of view it’s brilliant. They are cashing in on one of their only real assets. And they can continue selling it as long as they are alive (assuming you believe they won’t make it to year 15).
For SBD, it’s confusing. They are in essence paying for a brand. That brand catered toward DIYer’s for decades. Having a retail store not far away was their greatest strength. Sears won’t be around forever, and one could say that HD, Lowes and other regional home repair type chains have already filled this gap. They have crowded shelves with more than one brand to choose from. SBD already has a presence here. Then there are the other channels available today. SBD has a presence there as well. The only thing craftsman adds to their portfolio is a hook to the nostalgic, but most of them have already moved on to lower cost/better quality alternatives. The brand has questionable value in my eyes. They have money to burn, let’s see what they do with it.
As far as upscaling the brand, they didn’t need it to go after that market and it doesn’t particularly help them if that was their end game. I suspect that’s an unlikely outcome.
I can see USA Craftsman competing handily next to Husky and Kobalt. If a US offering for not much more, many might opt for it.
For me, Chinese Craftsman is the same as Chinese Kobalt and Chinese Husky, though I think my Chinese Craftsman is worth more secondhand.
Most people won’t even realize they are all from the same company. Some people buy a specific tool brand because its the brand their parent or grandparent bought. Some buy it because its what happens to be on sale at the moment. Other buy it because they like the colors on the tool or it “matches” the tools they already have. Adding a well known brand just increases Stanley’s market share even more.
I knew it was gonna happen, but didn’t think it was going to be this soon. I suppose, its not too bad that it went to SBD. This deal seems to be a complete mess though. So is SBD going to sell the current lineup though their channels? Will Sears be selling new SBD developed products later?
With SBD already owning Dewalt , Porter cable and B&D, I dont see a logical place for Cman powertools.
The American made part is really moot at this point. Nobody cares that Dewalt, Milwaukee, teckton, Gearwrench or Macintosh is made overseas. Even if Sears had managed to keep production here, the quality would have been deteriorating slowly anyways with cutting corners on materials and attempts at cheaper labor.
But the most pressing question is whats up with the WARRANTY???
I want this to be good news for Craftsman. Like most of you, I have a strong nostalgia pull for Craftsman hand tools, thanks to my father/grandfather having lots of them and the majority of my existing tools are Craftsman too. However, if Stuart’s predictions above are right, it seems like there will be far too many variations/usages of the Craftsman name for this to ultimately be a good thing.
SBD has bought a ton of great tool brands over the years and also pulled off one of the best marketing success stories of the past 40 years (the resurrected DeWalt brand). They’ve also messed up brands – the trowel-trade Goldblatt brand, for one. However, it’s hard to see where Craftsman can truly fit for them.
Looking at hand tools first, they’ve got the Black & Decker, Stanley, DeWalt and Mac brands, in that order from cheap DIYer to Professional grade. DeWalt has only gone into this space in the past couple years and is getting a ton of investment as SBD competes with TTI/Milwaukee there. If it wasn’t for DeWalt, that would have seemed like the perfect spot for Craftsman to occupy – the high-end consumer/lower-end professional.
Beyond that issue, it’s hard to see why Home Depot or Lowe’s would want to take on the brand either, given Husky/Kobalt have really filled that niche and copied the Craftsman model for those outlets. Ace has been selling it for a couple years and that may be their best shot at continued retail expansion, since Ace has no strong brands of their own to market.
On power tools, it’s the same issue – they’ve already got Stanley, Black & Decker, Porter Cable, Bostitch and DeWalt; it’s hard to see where Craftsman fits there either.
Good to see the warranty is going to be honored still, though it’s hard to see how that will be handled consistently at the in-person, retail level beyond Sears stores.
Your right about how B&D – having discredited their own brand name with lots of cheap junk thrown in with their professional tools – took a rather obscure brand – known best for their big RAS – and turned it into what is one of the best selling power tool brands worldwide. IMO they were less successful with Porter Cable – having a bit of identity crisis with that brand – rather than positioning it for woodworking professionals. And as you say – until they mercifully sold Goldblatt (that venerable Kansas City brand) to Hangzhou Great Star – they were floundering with it too – not competing well with the likes of Marshalltown and BonTool. A few years ago – I was afraid they were going to ruin the Bostitch brand by slapping the name on all sorts of hand tools – may gimmicky – that had nothing to do with Bostitch’s core business in fastening.
I view this as SBD keeping this name and market out of TTI’s or maybe Chevron’s hands.
which I mostly view as a postive. Best thing SBD could do is let the craftsman name die. Or conversion stop making Dewalt and Bostich branded hand tools – and make those all Craftsman named – but then stop making craftsman branded power tools.
2 questions – what in the craftsman catalog of devices is already made by SBD? I suspect quite a bit – especially on the home garage side.
What’s going to happen with their power equipment (lawn mowers, pressure washers, etc etc)?
time will tell I guess but I still think the strategic value here was keeping the market closed up from non-American interests.
As it stands right now Craftsman Screwdrivers and Pliers that are still made in the USA are made by Western Forge owned by Ideal. Most of the Mechanics specialty tools are made in china/Taiwan by or associated with Apex Tools who also makes the same for SnapOn, MAC, Matco, Lisle, Gearwrench and on and on. C’man cordless is continually re-branded by different manufacturers and that would take a great deal more research. Stanley Black & Decker makes very little craftsman branded tools, unless again, they have a hand in the cordless/corded power tools.
They make the Bolt-On power tool line. I have it and a mix of B&D power tools that use the same battery. It is pretty decent for homeowner level stuff.
I managed investments for mutual funds on Wall Street for years, so I know a thing or two about evaluating the prices paid for companies. One good rule-of-thumb number to look at is the price/sales ratio, what each dollar of the current year’s sales the acquirer pays for the business. In the case of the Irwin/Lenox deal in October, SBD paid almost $2 billion for slightly less than $800 million of revenue, or a multiple of about 2.5x. That’s a premium to Stanley Black & Decker stock which trades today at about 1.6x revenue. And that means that SDB management believes it can grow the acquired Irwin/Lenox business significantly faster than its own business.
Compare the very positive signals in the Irwin/Lenox deal back in October with the Craftsman deal today. They’re buying $1.9 billion of current revenue and paying $900 million in total expected consideration including a bunch of royalty payments that may or may not happen, etc. That means that the price/sales ratio is slightly below 0.5x. When you compare that to the 2.5x they paid for Irwin/Lenox and the 1.6x for SBD’s own stock, it’s clear that SBD management is skeptical that they can grow the Craftsman business at the rate of their other businesses.
The numbers are telling me that SBD management is making an opportunistic bet, picking up an iconic but fading brand for cheap. They’re hoping they can hit a home run with the Craftsman deal but they’re far from certain. It sounds like they’re evaluating a bunch of options on how they can monetize the deal to make Craftsman perform above the low expectations that are built into the purchase price, but they’ve got a long way to go to know whether anything will work. I suspect that we’ll know over the course of the next year when they lay out their strategy in detail to position the various lines relative to their existing products whether it will be successful for SDB, its employees and customers, or whether this acquisition will be yet another corporate merger that sinks into the swamp.
Are they really spending $900 Million on $1.9 Billion in revenue? 90% of Craftsman sales are at Sears, and based on the agreement Sears will have the opportunity to continue operating as they have been, and without having to pay any royalties for 15 years.
SBD had over $7 Billion in tools & storage revenue in 2015.
I highly doubt they’re going to get anywhere near $1B in Craftsman revenue anytime soon. $500M? I don’t know.
I do believe their 5 year strategy will pay off. This could be a risky move, but there’s the potential for huge long-term benefits.
There’s the potential for great long-term profits and even for strengthening the Craftsman brand.
In the past 10 years, I went from buying lots of Craftsman tools in almost every tool category, to not even considering them for anything. SBD can only raise the brand from where it now stands with many enthusiasts.
But nearly $2B in sales is nothing to sneeze at.
Plus, as someone else mentioned, this move keeps the Craftsman brand out of SBD competitors’ hands.
Guess I need to stop wasting time and buy up more of the C3 tools I’ve been putting off since getting my original sets all those years ago.
I doubt those will be around much longer after this buyout.
They might. Similar to TTI which has Milwaukee and then produces Home Depot Ridgid as a house brand, SB&D has Dewalt and now Craftsman as a Sears/Kmart/Ace house brand. Black & Decker being head to head with Ryobi.
The C3 line is in its last days. There’s no way it doesn’t change over to Stanley Black & Decker made products.
Thank God TTI didn’t buy Craftsman, just what we would need more Chinese garbage
I wouldn’t exactly call Milwaukee “Chinese garbage”
I would call they’re hand tools that.
You can say what you will about TTI – but sales of their product lines suggest that others don’t agree with you. Take a German entrepreneur (Horst Pudwill) and now his son – based in Hong Kong – and the guy (Joseph Galli) who built the Dewalt brand into a powerhouse for B&D – and you now have a publicly-traded company that will probably soon make $10 billion in annual revenues – based on manufacturing in China – but doing engineering worldwide – and distributing subsidiary headquarters (Milwaukee still in Wisconsin) and Ryobi in North Carolina. I agree that not everything they make is great – but they seem to have their competition flummoxed when it comes to the speed at which they introduce new product ideas. They also seem to get it when it comes to thinking about what will appeal to trades like plumbing – with their force-logic tools.
Little bro is a plumber. Loves his milwaukee products. The plumbing supply shop in my town sells milwaukee gear. I think Fred is right . Milaukee caters to plumbers
I have given up on Sears and Crapsman. When I was a kid they offered near pro quality mechanics tools for better, much better than average pricing. They dominated the weekend warrior and semi-pro market for decades with solid American made products.
Then their financial issues started with refusal to embrace the online marketing monster that was staring them in the face. They cheapened all their brands, raised prices a LOT and finally ditched Danaher tool group and sent what was left of their once proud brand, Craftsman, to the junk heap of history with the to China.
I would much rather spend money on Milwaukee or another Asian hand tool that actually shows some innovation. Milwaukee ‘ s screwdrivers are well made and ergonomic. And not much more, if any , than the old clubby plastic handled C ‘ man models in price. Same for their adjustable pliers.
Craftsman going to SBD is a fitting epitaph for a ruinated brand. I wonder how long it will be before we see ‘premium’ Craftsman tools (made in China no doubt) at Walmart? Right next to the Stanley junk they sell. Sorry to be a Debby Downer guys but I have zero confidence in true American made Craftsman tools any time in the near future.
Maybe Trump will give a threat to SBD just like he did to Ford and GM. Bring the factories back to the US, or else, your products will be taxed when they come back in America.
SBD sells products in every developed county on the planet. Having multiple factories around the world turn out identical products works for cars, not so much for hand tools. They aren’t going to take a loss on every foreign sale just to avoid an import tax in the US. They’ll just tack the import tax on the product in the US and we’ll have to eat the tax when we purchase.
I know, I wasn’t serious…
SBD just today announced plans for a new plant in the US of A.
“Sears To Continue Developing, Sourcing & Selling Craftsman In All Sears Retail Channels Under Perpetual License Agreement.”
So Apex will continue to put out garbage Chinese nonsense gadgets for a couple of weeks each, and nothing else will change except the Craftsman name will live on as exactly what it already is, a shadow of its former famous reasonably-priced, lifetime-warranty US-made tools. I would rather buy GearWrench stuff because at least it started in Taiwan and hasn’t somehow outsourced to somewhere even cheaper.
Gearwrench does source in china as well.
Gearwrench is the former K-D Tools, that used to be made in the USA
I can see Stanley Black & Decker taking over all of the hand tools and power tools sold in Sears. The C3 line is as good as gone, probably replaced by a Black & Decker or Porter Cable clones.
The Sears specific products will probably be for products that Stanley doesn’t make on its own like Snowblowers, Lawns Mowers etc.
Hopefully this leads to more Stanley Black & Decker branded products being soled in Sears. I’d definitely shop there more if it became a home for Stanley’s brands. I’d drive right past all the Home Depot and Lowe’s for that kind of showroom.
Well, I’m optimistic and very passionate about this. Disclaimer; I own 99.9% of every Craftsman Made in USA tool made between approx. 1999 and 2009.
Let’s remember what Craftsman Made In the USA used to be. A quality USA made tool that was affordable. No matter who was producing or designing the tools, many innovations were released under the Craftsman name, some silly, some very good. They had the guts to throw it against the wall and see what sticks. Today that particular mantle goes to Apex Tools releasing, usually first under the Gearwrench line.
It has only been since 2008-09 when the core Craftsman tools – wrenches and sockets were sourced in china. Is the brand so diminished in seven-eight years that it can’t be revived? I don’t believe that is true.
SB&D could compete in this manner:
Craftsman (china/Taiwan) at Sears/Kmart/Ace competes in hand tools with Gearwrench, Husky, Kobalt, In power tools competes with Ridgid, Kobalt, Ryobi, Black & Decker. In hand tools there just isn’t that much difference between Husky, Kobalt, Gearwrench, Tekton, Stanley, Dewalt, Milwaukee, Crescent, etc.
Considering that SB&D continues to bring more manufacturing to the USA, (albeit “Made in USA with Global Components) a revived line of Made in USA Craftsman Professional/Industrial should be brought back. It would actually give MAC/Matco/SK etc. a run for their money just as they used to. Possibly offering products on the MAC tool trucks.
Put USA Made tools back on the counter at Sears and we’ll see how many people will pay more for USA products. I would also keep USA Made Craftsman to the Professional/Industrial line. SB&D’s brands do well with Carpenters, Woodworkers, Contractors, but lags when competing for Electricians, Auto Mechanics, HVAC Techs, and Plumbers. Craftsman Professional line give them a legitimate inroad to those trades, possibly tying in DeWalt Cordless just as MAC cordless uses DeWalt batteries.
The most interesting aspect to me, is with all of the brands not step on each other. Even now, it is hard to see where Porter Cable and Bostitch fit, now Lenox and Irwin? I find those four have a difficult path to market share. I would return each to their initial core products.
Who knows, but look at it this way, a Tool Company bought and probably saved a Tool Brand. It wasn’t bought by a Holding company, or a company who makes housewares, or another retailer. No matter if this seems smart, for us the consumer, it is a positive move.
If Stanley lets you trade a Chinese Craftsman tool for a USA tool, it would go a long way to restoring the Craftsman reputation.
Lynyrd, pretty good thoughts there. I hope it works out. I truly do.
I have a horrid apprehension about anything regarding Stanley. Their wholesale sellout of American brands to Chinese manufacturing started the whole trend. At least to me. Craftsman’s long hard fall to this monstrosity was not as weird to me as it would have been years ago. Sears long ago lost my loyalty on much of anything they sell. Their abandonment of Danaher group for hand tool manufacturing(sockets, wrenches, etc) was the beginning of the end. They went to China to save money and increased prices or kept them the same across the Craftsman board. I cannot go back to Craftsman now. Maybe if they actually produce USA made tools but there are better choices for the same dollar in their market niche now.
And speaking of SB&D, look at their track record of destroying proud marquees. Porter Cable comes to mind. Once the best producer of routers, belt sanders, portable band saws, and orbital sanders. They now occupy some mythical ‘upscale diy’er’ market Stanley invented. I wish the nitwit at Stanley who made that decision would rethink it.
Now that they have Craftsman I hope it becomes their big DIY brand which was its niche for decades. Return P-C to its proper place in the pro carpenter and woodworking power tools market, Bostitch to commercial/industrial fasteners that was always its mark and not 89 dollar cordless drills at Walmart. And more than anything, make Irwin pliers in America again and don’t do ANYTHING to Lenox saw blades and carbide cutters. Please, please, please don’t mess with them.
Couldn’t agree more with your comments. I didn’t think about Porter Cable, but yes a return to corded Woodworking Tools would be awesome. Bostitch Fasteners. Reverse all the moves Irwin made with Vise Grips and Quick Grip. I have a pretty good collection of Petersen/Dewitt Vise Grips and USA Quick Grips…
I’m not hopeful about a Porter-Cable resurgence . I’ve lamented their decline – ever since Black&Decker acquired them – moved router production to Mexico, sold off Porta-Nails and then more recently – as Satch says – tried to position the brand for “some mythical ‘upscale diy’er’ market Stanley invented”. Maybe what happened to Porter Cable was inevitable since – as Kyle R posted above – B&D”s phenomenal success at having recreated and re-positioned the Dewalt brand was something they did not want to cannibalize with competition from the newly acquired Porte Cable brand. Maybe understandable – but still a pity.
Meanwhile I hold onto and still use my old Rockwell-Porter-Cable routers, locomotive sanders , worm-gear trim saw etc.
Those old Aqualung sanders were beasts. 😉 90% of the routers I still own are older PC brand. The 690 was the mainstay in my shop and I will probably rebuild any that fail up until parts become unobtainium.
I have several old Rockwell-PC routers. My favorite is the 1501/1502 D-Handle but also have a 690 and 7539.
In one of our shops we had an array of Betterley routers – all based on PC motors – as well as a PC lock mortising machine.
Before I bought my track saw – my Rockwell-PC 9314 4.5 inch worm gear saw was my mainstay for breaking down sheet goods. I rebuilt it twice over the years.
My 121, 330, 360, 371K, 503, 505, and 7336 sanders all did yeoman work in their day – and I still take out the 503 from time to time – when I’m into heavy-duty sanding. I think that the 7336 was the first ROS to hit the market.
Pictures of my current router selection are located here; http://professional-power-tool-guide.com/power-tool-forum/index.php?/topic/6909-what-did-you-do-today-a-thread-dedicated-to-the-general-use-of-tools-in-your-projects/&page=21
If you want to charge more for USA made, the quality needs to be better, and thats been a problem.
With all of the automation that has generally improved all manufacturing quality, there is no opportunity for the labor to actually influence the finished quality. They are just monitoring a screen, changing material feeds, packing the result into racks.
Personally if I was running a large manufacturing company I would probably keep them where there is less regulation and cheaper labor (ie China). Like you said, with improvement to manufacturing, the opportunity for skill labors are getting smaller.
The same crowd that are so vocal about made in USA are usually the same crowd that bark at the high price tag when it actually happen. For small scale manufacturing, it might be cheaper to keep thing local. For large scale manufacturing, not so much…
I’m really surprised that Apex didn’t buy Craftsman, but I guess they didn’t have enough cash to do so, and SB&D was willing to negotiate a deal so Sears could essentially not change a thing and just get a much needed cash infusion while SB&D gets to develop and market new tools under the brand.
Will be interesting to see what SB&D comes up with.
Our local kmart closed it’s doors last month and i bet sears in the mall is next! it’s a ghost town of a store!
I suspect malls are so hardup for anchors at this point, most sears are in there damn near for free. Its not worth closing them.
What town is it in, I can probably tell you.
Stanley used to make the best Woodworking hand tools that money could buy in the widest range imaginable. Now they make low-end garage door openers. Black and Decker used to make great power tools, including the best Radial Arms Saws on the planet (these are still available, just from a different company that purchased the Black and Decker/DeWalt R.A.S. manufacturing line). Now they make disposable power tools, at least under their own name. Combined into one unified company, they’ve nearly destroyed Porter-Cable, a one-time Router colossus.
This is a textbook case of “out of the frying pan and into the fire.” Craftsman is as good as dead.
Maybe what B&D did when they acquired the Dewalt name was smart. They (B&D) had slapped their name on circular saws with orange plastic housings – sold at the cheesy discount home stores that were ubiquitous before Home Depot. So the buying public became wary – maybe couldn’t tell if they were getting a Super Sawcat or a one-and-done saw from B&D. They did turn Dewalt into a well-selling brand that lots of pro’s seem to like – but lately I wonder – as they slap the Dewalt name on lots of items that do not seem to me to be well aligned with the Dewalt brand. I’ve said it before – that I think Porter Cable was a victim of the marketing “geniuses” at B&D then SBD – who didn’t know what to do with the brand or how t position it. I’ll bet that decisions were being made by folks who wouldn’t know a woodworking router from one that you use to network computers.
And to your point about RAS’s – my guess is that Sears had a hand in both their amazing rise and then their decline from favor. In the 50’s and 60’s – it was probably Emerson Electric that made many of them for Sears. Sears in turn promoted them as a do everything tool. That was the time of the rise in the DIY movement and all-purpose tools (a la Shopsmith) had an appeal. Some of those Craftsman RAS were OK – I had one – but other got pretty sloppy very fast and was never good for ripping . Many suffered from not being robust (unlike the 20 inch one we had in one shop) enough to maintain their accuracy. Anyway – we all know that the plethora of RAS choices once available at Sears has disappeared -(mostly in favor of miter saws) but the saw type still has its uses – and is way-way better than the old swing saws that it replaced for cutting timbers in a lumberyard.
its just a name on the box these days.
To look at the brands already owned by B&D, including MAC, Stanley, Bostich, Dewalt, Blackhawk, and Husky… Do they really have room to further differentiate *another* rebadged lineup?
well, they say the majority of mergers and acquisitions waste money, I am confident this will be no different.
Back in the day your tool box was pretty much filled with Stanley and Craftsman tools for good reason, quality. Now a days I still buy them but not new at retail. I buy “vintage” Stanley and Craftsman tools at pawn shops and estate sales now. Picked up a Bailey No. 8 plane in fantastic condition not long ago for $75.
I’m not sure that the licensing deal available to Sears was left open for Sears to develop more tools.
My speculation is that that was negotiated into the contract because Sears may have seen value in selling Craftsman branded “lifestyle products” like their Christmas ornaments, shirts, hats, and other things, while StanlyBD may not have had any desire to continue those products for one reason or another
Sears’ “value” in producing those items may have been under contract to be manufactured by some other supplier for some period of time and breaking those contracts due to the sale of the brand may have been expensive. So we get Craftsman branded boots and Christmas stockings for a few more years.
Sears Holdings has no expertise in place to develop anything in any merchandise line. Anything new comes from the manufacturers who produce the tools. Whether it is Apex or direct input from a chinese/Taiwan foundry.
The craftsman name has tainted for quite some time due to Sears/craftsman farming their tool production out to companies who don’t know shit about making a quality product. SBD should have added a clause in the deal saying that Sears can’t use the shittiest tool manufacturer for production just to save their own ass. 3 more years of crap tools from Sears could possibly tarnish SBD’s rep even if they are sold at separate stores. They need to keep the crappy stuff at Sears only & be sure not to let it hit the shelves of SBD’S retailers. Craftsman used to be the best hand & power tool brand in America long before today’s era of plastic garbage. Lack of pride & quality was almost the downfall of b&d & now craftsman. This is why Stanley saved b&d’s ass. I don’t know if they can save Craftsman’s ass. These were the “Big 3” long before the brands you see on shelves today. They were the only brands anyone wanted because they were all damn good tool companies. Nobody wanted the brands that are dominating the market today. Stanley tools, Black & decker, & Craftsman was it. Imagine if they started making their stuff with the same quality as back in the day. Now that its all the same company, it needs to happen.
While not all good older hand tools came from Stanley – as you say they did have a dominating presence – producing a wide array of different tools – most famously (to me anyway as a bit of a hand plane collector) their Bailey-Bedrock style all metal planes. Some other tool makers started out more like one-trick ponies – The Irwin Co. as an example making solid center auger bits as their first tool offering – to compete with the Russell-Jennings (bought out by Stanley) style bits. In my younger days – I recall Stanley having some competition with Miller Falls.
BTW – if you see a set of auger bits marked “Fulton” – they were most likely made by Russell-Jennings to be sold at Sears or through the Sears Catalog. The Fulton – was one of Sears house brands prior to the introduction of the Craftsman brand (I believe in the late 1920’s)
Craftsman’s OEMs know how to make good quality tools. The problem is that they were contracted to make tools overseas, at lower costs, or with features that appeal to casual tool users.
In the past few years, it became increasingly reasonable to think that Craftsman stopped caring about enthusiast, serious, and professional users. Sears too. Sears used to have a great Sears.com tool buyer who would bring in great quality tools from outside the Craftsman brand. I wish I knew what happened to him/her/them.
I think that the discontinuance of the Tool Catalogs from Sears also was a signal that things had changed for the worse and/or that they no longer thought that the “enthusiasts” as you call them mattered.
Perhaps. Things did start changing right about then.
I’ve actually kept several of the last editions of the Sears Tool Catalogs as mementoes of my earlier infatuation with all things Craftsmen. Like 30+ years ago. Until I learned about lots of local speciality tool dealers.
And now, of course, Al Gore’s internet.
Mike (the other one)
Personally, I would do this…
Stanley – entry-level for general use.
Craftsman – higher end for homeowners, small businesses, etc.
Proto, Blackhawk, and Mac – Professional/industrial grade tools.
Black & Decker – entry-level
Porter-Cable – higher end – focus on woodworking tools (saws, routers, etc.)
Bostitch – higher end, focus on fastening tools (nail guns, air-tools, etc.)
DeWalt – professional/contractor grade power tools (drills, etc)
Not sure where Irwin would fit, but continuing to offer German tools under that brand is a good idea. Perhaps they could be on the same level as Craftsman, but each can specialize – Irwin can focus on pliers, while Craftsman can focus on screwdrivers, wrenches, sockets, etc.
I’d kill the DeWalt-branded screwdrivers and stuff like that immediately. Too much overlap, and those screwdrivers are not anything special. It over-saturates the market and can diminish the brands reputation.
SBD should be upfront about the various brands they own, and certain brands can compliment each other without offering redundant selections.
Mike (the other one)
I suppose Craftsman can keep offering lawn tools.
Sounds logical for the US market – but all those marketing gurus may worry that sales will fall off if Dewalt fans can’t get every tool they want in yellow. Of course they also have all those other brands like Chesco. Emhart, Facom, Hanson, Hilmor, Lenox, Marples, Oldham, and Vise Grip to try to position in the market.
It is hard to figure some times about what sells and even more what will maximize your market share and profitability. I think that GM once thought that more car brands (Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Hummer, Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Saturn) meant that they would sell more cars. Maybe when there were real differences between the lines – there was some logic to it. Then to economize – the differences started being more cosmetic than substantive and the buying public may have become indifferent – maybe just confused. Now with half the brands – I don’t see GM adding newer ones or reintroducing older ones anytime soon. Perhaps retiring some brands, or making the distinctions between brands more defined (as you suggest) would not be a bad thing for SBD.
Yeah, SBD reminds me a lot of pre-bankruptcy GM. Too many brands, too much overlap.
GM now seems to be doing well, but it took a hard lesson to for that to happen.
Irwin: mostly clamps, bits, and blades, but a few iconic items (Vise-Grip) and possibly electrical pliers?
DeWalt has no business making hand tools. I almost forget that they have them until I see them in a sale flyer.
I’d almost think it better to just junk Black & Decker as a brand name, and use Craftsman as their replacement on the power tool side. That’d be in addition to being mid-level for hand tools.
An interesting read on what is said to have actually happened inside of Sears under Lampert:
Concerning the Craftsman brand itself, I wonder if the Craftsman brand will retain any meaningful identity moving forward. What I mean is that if we have to start making references to Craftsman branded tools from different years (which we already do) and to different ownership after Sears, how will the “Craftsman” brand survive without being diluted beyond customer recognition?
Interesting read, thank you.
I read that too. Sears, really because of Craftsman was always my favorite and go-to store. So I’ve been following it the last few years, mostly with sadness. Our local K-Mart just announced it’s closing but not Sears yet. Which is fine.. I cringed when I learned that Sears would be associated with a discount retailer like K-Mart. Nothing against K-Mart either as I would have felt the same way if it were Wal-Mart or Target. I just held Sears and Craftsman to a higher standard. Historically anyway. Certainly not since then though.
To see Craftsman tools sold at hardware stores the last several years was odd but palatable. I still drove further to Sears to get my Craftsman tools- (Mostly old USA Made stock only). To see Craftsman tools at K-Mart though was just heartbreaking. It was like a 1-2 punch. First Chinese production of their products (Made in the USA is what made Craftsman so special in the first place) and then to be sold at K-Mart??? Why not the dollar store while you’re at it.
Regarding SBD buying Craftsman, I’m unsure how I feel. It doesn’t feel right not having Craftsman be Sears, but then again none of it feels right anymore anyway so what the heck, it can’t get any worse. I do think SBD is much like old GM with all of the brands. The thing is, most people have no clue that there is any sort of 1st,2nd,3rd tier and so on of tool branding under one roof. People will cross shop every last one of those brands. Like GM, most people had no clue that in GM’s mind, the customer was supposed to start at Chevrolet and then move up some bizarre step ladder of brands until they reached the pinnacle at Cadillac. Yet save for people knowing that Cadillac was the best, most people viewed the rest of their companies (now just brands) as equals. Many had no idea say a Chevrolet and a Buick even came from the same top company. I suspect the same for SBD. While tool buyers (especially power tools) will all know that DeWalt is a top tier brand, the vast majority will view the other brands as equals with most not even knowing they’re under the same corporate roof.
Where does Craftsman fit though? I’d argue that had this happened 30 years ago, Craftsman still had the clout to BE the top tier brand. SBD could have done it with Craftsman instead of DeWalt. But that ship has sailed. So since it will continue to be DeWalt duking it out with TTI’s Milwaukee and to a lesser extent Bosch and a few others, what of Craftsman? If Craftsman’s going to go mainstream, is there a need for SBD’s other lower tier brands? Why have so many marketing brands doing essentially the same thing? Why not have 1 real main company with a higher end and lower end product line? Like Ford/Lincoln or Toyota/Lexus. I suppose Craftsman could be a middle of the road line like Sears always had it but is there room for that at SBD with so many lines and very little price differentiation? Either way, more Made In USA Craftsman will be a good thing. Especially hand tools but maybe power tools again too like DeWalt is doing. Maybe someday Craftsman could be their own company within the SBD company or something. And having DeWalt power tools to draw from is pretty awesome!
I don’t think Sears will end well so I’m not putting much hope in what would come from their product line if indeed separate. Others pointed out the C3 line. I have a few C3 tools. Was there ever a C1 or C2 line? I’m unaware. Maybe I’m thinking too much Corvette here with the GM talk. If so, maybe C4 will incorporate some new Dewalt battery technology and design. That would be refreshing to see! C3 is pretty long in the tooth. The whole story is happy & sad at the same time for me.
It’s sad, because Sears was one of my favorite stores. I could get a quality, US-made tool, a nice shirt, and some ear rings for my wife all in the same place.
I always thought K-Mart had messy stores, and they were simply not as good as Target or even Wal-Mart in selection and upkeep. Even if their prices were lower, I’d rarely go in a K-Mart for those reasons.
ESL is running Sears into the ground. Amazon is what Sears used to be, but instead of thick catalogs, they use a web site. It’s ironic that ESL is trying to emulate Amazon, but failing to do so, while ignoring traditional stores. He should have embraced them – especially tire centers, and appliance selections, which were great opportunities to create a positive customer experience.
So Craftsman Tools are following the path of least resistance and being absorbed by Stanley/Black & Decker (SBD), which is a crying shame. From an ancient English Licensed Aircraft Engineer’s perspective, Stanley tools have been cheap & nasty, Chinese-made attempts to fill tool shelves in places like B&Q or Homebase – though the latter have improved their hand-tool selection since being bought out by an Australian company – but that’s by-the-bye…
Stanley were once a respected British brand of hand tools – but have not been so for decades now. It will be interesting to see if the exceptionally well-made and innovative range of hand-tools that Craftsman has produced for Sears continues at its current high-quality levels or is allowed to sink into Chinese-made tat…?
We await developments with great curiosity…!
Like other I have lots of older Stanley tools – many made in England or Connecticut – when both were heavy tool-producing locales.
Frederick Trent Stanley made bolts in New Britain CT starting in 1843. His cousin Henry Stanley – started making rules and levels in Connecticut in 1857. The two companies were independent until 1920 – and I believe did not have a presence in the UK until 1937 when they acquired the J A Chapman Company a plane maker in Sheffield England.
Stanley is still headquartered in New Britain – but I recall that they had proposed moving to Bermuda for tax reasons – a proposal that was stymied.
Stanley had a long history of growing by acquisition (sometimes divesting acquisitions as well). Brands that I think have been gathered up in this way include :
AMERICAN BRUSH – PRO-EDGE
AMERICAN TOOL CO.s OF ARKANSAS
AMERICAN TOOL COMPANIES
BLACK & DECKER
GOLDBLATT TOOLS (since sold to Hangzhou Great Star)
HANSON / HANSON-WHITNEY
HUSKY (the brand is now used by Home Depot)
LENOX – AMERICAN SAW MFG. CO.
MARPLES (UK – in part acquired by Irwin)
NEW BRITAIN TOOLS
ROCKWELL – PORTER CABLE
TURNER TOOLS (Australia)
VECTOR PRODUCTS INC.
VERTIGO – POWERS FASTENERS
and now CRAFTSMAN
One perspective; if allowed to sell many of the brands listed, it sure makes a MAC Tool Truck franchise more appealing . . . definitely would tip the scales over Matco and of course Cornwell already a distant fourth.
Excerpt from News from an article in USA Today Jan 5 I didn’t see reported:
“Stanley Black & Decker has about 3,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs today, up 800 from three years ago, according to the toolmaker. It was not immediately clear how many jobs the company plans to add.
Loree said the location of the new manufacturing plant to produce Craftsman products has not yet been determined. The company currently operates 29 total U.S. plants.
About a half century ago, the Craftsman brand was primarily made in America. Today it’s largely made overseas, Loree said.
“We believe this is an excellent opportunity to re-Americanize and revitalize this legendary brand,” he told investors”It makes good business sense for us,” he said.
About 90% of Craftsman products are sold in Sears stores, but Stanley Black & Decker plans to expand production and sales to other retailers and business channels.”
This would indicate that SB&D Craftsman may not renew manufacturing through Danaher or expand their deals with Ideal/Western Forge.
How much longer will the Craftsman NEXTEC brand be around? I just bought a few of these NEXTEC tools in place of Harbor Freight. I hope I did good!!
Are there any inter-changable tools with the NEXTEC line? Tools and batteries?
What would the next best tool line be if I upgrade from NEXTEC? I like the 12-Volt slim batteries for their ease of use.
The 12V Nextec lineup is made by Chervon. It’s been stagnant for a few years now, I hope that SBD eventually launches a new Craftsman 12V Max lineup.
Thanks for your comment. Is Chevron a OEM tool maker only or do they have their own line too?
Please direct me to Chevron’s division for these NEXTEC tools.
If that is a dead end, then where can I contact SBD for their “NEXTEC” division.
looking for a 20 volt lithium-ion chargercraftsman wuill blacker and decker chargerwork on crafsman tools
It will not.