HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears Holdings Corp. is strengthening its links to Amazon.com, partnering with the online retail behemoth to sell some DieHard tires and providing full-service installation and balancing for any brand of tires purchased through Amazon.
Sears began selling DieHard jumper cables and battery chargers over Amazon in December. DieHard Advanced Gold AGM automotive batteries were added in February and now DieHard all-season passenger tires can be bought.
Sears announced the tire offering this month during its annual shareholders meeting, which lasted more than two hours and pointed to technology as a way to reverse declining sales. Chief executive officer Eddie Lampert said the company’s turnaround strategy comprises elements from giving up real estate to promoting digital coupons and loyalty points.
Lampert said Sears has lagged behind the competition in the technology arena and been hampered financially by pension obligations. He likened competing with Amazon to “racing against Secretariat” or playing basketball against Michael Jordan. “A lot of things we were trying to do, they have done better,” he said.
After years of trying to preserve the chain’s widespread footprint, Lampert said Sears in recent years has divested buildings, shuttered stores and laid off thousands of employees, bringing it closer to “a core it can grow from.”
“We took a lot of actions to improve our capital structure,” he added. “But we all know the results are not where they need to be. We need to do a lot more.”
“I believe our vision has been right, but we haven’t really gotten over the hump as far as making that vision a reality,” he added. Lampert earlier said that his hedge fund would be willing to purchase company assets including real estate, its appliance parts business and the Kenmore brand.
With the latest collaboration with Amazon, Sears Auto will become the first nationwide auto service center to offer Amazon customers a ship-to-store tire service integrated into the online retailer’s checkout process. The new capability is initially available at 47 Sears Auto Centers in eight metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Following the launch, Sears Auto Centers will quickly roll out the service to Amazon customers through its 400-plus establishments nationwide.
The partnership stems from a growing relationship between Sears and Amazon, dating to when Sears began selling Kenmore appliances over the website in July. “Kenmore is now distributed nationally on Amazon with over 250 products and we are exceeding customer service level expectations,” commented Tom Park, president of the Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard brands.
“Amazon.com customers can expect terrific performance and reliability from DieHard tires and professional installation from Sears Auto Centers,” Park added. “We’re thrilled to expand our assortment of this iconic brand to include passenger tires on Amazon.com.”