Can Alexa-enabled air conditioners halt Sears' death spiral?

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With this deal, Sears is looking to expand its reach and grow the Kenmore name brand.

Sears says this marks the broadest distribution of its home appliance brand outside of Sears stores and online retail platforms.

Kenmore smart air conditioners that are integrated with Alexa are available on Amazon now, and more products are on the way, the company said.

Sears sells big-ticket Kenmore appliances such as refrigerators and air-conditioners only in its Sears, Kmart and Sears Hometown stores.

"The launch of Kenmore products on Amazon.com will significantly expand the distribution and availability of the Kenmore brand in the U.S.", Sears CEO Eddie Lampert said in a statement. It also says the AC works with Alexa via the Kenmore Smart skill, but it was not immediately clear what this skill does beyond the ability to ask Alexa to set the desired temperature.


Alexa is popping up in more and more smart home devices, as Amazon makes a play to become the voice-controlled home operating system.

"The launch of Kenmore products on Amazon.com will significantly expand the distribution and availability of the Kenmore brand in the United States", said Sears chief executive Edward Lampert said in a news release. Additionally, Sears said Kenmore smart appliances will be able to connect with Alexa, Amazon's personal assistant. Customers can enable the Kenmore Smart skill in the Alexa Skill Store, link their account and then begin asking Alexa to interact with their Kenmore Smart appliances.

Shares of Sears Holdings, based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, jumped more than $1, nearing $10 per share, in premarket trading. The S&P 500 index is up almost 14% for the previous year.

Sears' Kenmore brand got its start in 1913 with sewing machines and quickly expanded to laundry, vacuum cleaners and more.

"Working with Amazon is perfectly aligned with our omni-channel strategy to unleash the power and service of Kenmore and support the brand's growth", said Tom Park, President of Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard brands at Sears Holdings.

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