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Sears and Amazon; Alexa, turn up my Kenmore air conditioner

21 July 2017, 01:02 | Gina Pena

Sears appliances are now available

Sears appliances are now available

Sears announced on Thursday it will sell its Kenmore-branded appliances on Amazon.

This the company's latest strategy of a store model with strictly mattresses and appliances in a new store in Texas.

"The launch of Kenmore products on Amazon.com will significantly expand the distribution and availability of the Kenmore brand in the U.S".

But as Amazon extends into industries from social networks to grocery delivery, the deal with Sears is raising questions about the extent to which home-improvement stores can withstand competition from the ecommerce giant.

Translation: People who don't shop at Sears might be enticed to buy their appliances online at Amazon. Shares of the department store chain are up almost 18%, following the launch of Kenmore products on Amazon.com, as well as the integration of the full line of Kenmore Smart appliances with Amazon Alexa. It's available now for Prime customers using its Amazon app on iPhones, with an Android version coming soon, according to Amazon's FAQ on its website.

Amazon, meanwhile, was No. 14 on the TWICE ranking, with $228 million in major appliance sales in 2016. For example, users can change the temperature on their air conditioner without leaving the sofa.

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Sears will begin selling its appliances on Amazon.com, including smart appliances that can be synced with Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa. 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 announcement before the opening bell Thursday sent shares of Sears soaring 11 percent.

Sears's woes have forced the company, which dates to the 19th century, to shutter more than 150 stores, including numerous Kmart outlets, this year in a move to cut costs.

Sears has not turned a profit since 2010, and a year ago it reported losses of $2.2 billion.

Shares of Sears' stock were climbing more than 8 percent in early trading following this news.

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