Sears hops on Alexa bandwagon in move to spruce up appliances

Kenmore breaks free of brick and mortar with Amazon deal

CEO Eddie Lampert said this will not only benefit Kenmore - a brand Sears had been rumored to be ready to sell as it has sold other old store brands - but its fix unit, Sears Home Services, and its Innovel Solutions logistics unit, which theoretically would deliver and install the products. The Kenmore Smart air conditioner is now available. As part of its ongoing efforts to increase sales and make the most of its store brands, Sears Holdings, the parent company of Sears and Kmart, announced that it will be selling Kenmore appliances on Amazon, beginning with air conditioners. For instance, "Alexa, tell Kenmore Smart to set my air conditioner to 68 degrees" will automatically change the temperature setting from afar.

Linking its smart appliances with Alexa may also raise the company's visibility.

Sears plans to roll out its full line of Kenmore appliances on Amazon with Sears Home Services and Innovel Solutions available for customers who want installation and white-glove delivery service.

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"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", Kindel said.

While the move feels a bit defeatist, it's a smart one, at least in the short term - a fact that Wall Street has rewarded, with shares in the 131-year-old company jumping as much as 25-percent in this morning's trading. The chain has considering selling additional lines, including its DieHard vehicle batteries and Kenmore appliances businesses, and is unloading its vast real estate holdings.

Just last month, Sears said it was closing even more stores, reportedly bringing its count to about 1180, down from 2073 five years ago.

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"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 Chief Executive Officer of Sears Holdings.

When Amazon users search for appliances, Kenmore branded products will be among the top brands featured.

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