Sears Holdings, the parent company of struggling department store chain Sears, has launched its Kenmore smart appliances on Amazon in a deal that brings Alexa-integration to the full line of products.
The partnership marks the broadest distribution of Kenmore products outside of Sears stores and online retail platforms, and has given the beleaguered retailer a much-needed boost – with stocks jumping 22 per cent in pre-market trading.
“We continuously look for opportunities to enhance the reach of our iconic brands to more customers and create additional value from our assets,” said Edward S. Lampert, chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings. “The launch of Kenmore products on Amazon.com will significantly expand the distribution and availability of the Kenmore brand in the U.S. At the same time, Sears Home Services and our Innovel Solutions unit will benefit from the relationship as more customers experience their quality services for Kenmore products purchased on Amazon.com.”
Via the Kenmore Smart skill for Amazon Alexa, customers will be able to control their Kenmore smart home appliances by voice. Users will be able to ask Alexa to carry out tasks such as asking the virtual assistant to adjust the temperature on the air conditioning.
“Voice is a natural interface for the smart home, so we're thrilled that customers can now simply ask Alexa to interact with their Kenmore Smart appliances,” said Charlie Kindel, director of Alexa Smart Home. “We're excited that Kenmore has added Alexa functionality to these products and we think customers will love the convenience of cooling their home, starting their laundry, and more, using only their voice.”
Elsewhere, in more negative news for the department store chain, liquidation sales have started at Sears stores across Canada – with 54 stores slated for closure in the North American nation.