Sears in U.S. cuts a deal with Ama­zon

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - BUSINESS -

Sears in the U.S. will be­gin sell­ing its ap­pli­ances on Ama­zon.com, in­clud­ing smart ap­pli­ances that can be synced with Ama­zon’s voice as­sis­tant, Alexa.

The an­nounce­ment Thurs­day sent shares of Sears soar­ing more than 18 per cent at the open­ing bell. The tie-up with the in­ter­net be­he­moth could give shares of the sto­ried re­tailer one of its big­gest one-day per­cent­age gains ever.

Sears, which also owns Kmart, said that its Ken­more Smart ap­pli­ances will be fully in­te­grated with Ama­zon’s Alexa, al­low­ing users to con­trol things like air con­di­tion­ers through voice com­mands.

“The launch of Ken­more prod­ucts on Ama­zon.com will sig­nif­i­cantly ex­pand the dis­tri­bu­tion and avail­abil­ity of the Ken­more brand in the U.S.,” $IBJSNBO BOE $&0 &EXBSE Lam­pert said in a com­pany re­lease.

Sears has strug­gled with weak sales for years, and an­nounced more store clos­ings ear­lier this month, partly due to the emer­gence of Ama­zon.com and other in­ter­net op­er­a­tors. Sears had said in March that there was “sub­stan­tial doubt” it could con­tinue af­ter years of bleed­ing money.

Many on Thurs­day took the agree­ment with Ama­zon.com as a life­line, with the vol­ume of trad­ing in Sears shares just be­fore the open­ing bell enor­mous.

Ama­zon has changed the face of re­tail since it be­came a pub­lic com­pany more than 20 years ago. It re­cently be­gan of­fer­ing dis­counts on its Prime mem­ber­ship for people who re­ceive govern­ment as­sis­tance, mak­ing a play for the low-in­come shop­pers at places like Wal­mart. And it an­nounced last month that it was test­ing a new wardrobe ser­vice that lets mem­bers of its Prime pro­gram try on styles be­fore they put items on their charge card - at no up­front fee.

4IBSFT PG 4FBST )PMEJOHT CBTFE JO )PòNBO &TUBUFT *MMJOPJT KVTU PVUTJEF PG $IJDBHP jumped $1.62 to $10.30 when trad­ing be­gan.

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