Sears offers up its brands
The company is willing to license out the Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard names.
Sears said it will license the use of the Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard names. So can other companies pay Sears a fee and can slap the Kenmore name on anything? The Wall Street Journal says the new merchandise will have to be related to the brand.
The Journal mentions the possibility of Kenmore kitchen wear and Craftsman durable apparel.
The move makes Sears' new strategy a little clearer. The company is losing money and closing stores. It's not making money selling clothes -- in fact, it's pulling clothing out of 10 stores altogether.
In the following video, Sears chairman Eddie Lampert talks about how important it is for companies to try new things.
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One of Sears' biggest assets is its brand value. People like the Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard names. They trust those brands. Sears wants to build on that trust -- and make a boatload of money -- by renting out the names. Sears has hired a global licensing company to seek out opportunities.
You can see the appeal to product makers. Say you have some decent work gloves but you really want them to stand out on Home Depot (HD) shelves. Add the DieHard name and double the price. It's a win-win for the manufacturer and for Sears.
The tricky part here is whether Sears can license out the brands while still preserving their reputations. If people start to associate Craftsman with junk, it won't be long before that brand loses value. So Sears will need to keep tight control and work to make sure its brands are associated with quality.
Sears is already making moves with another brand, Lands' End. The company wants to sell the brand for as much as $2 billion, The New York Post reports. Sears then wants to license back the name so it can continue selling Lands' End in its stores.
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