Sears offers up its brands

The company is willing to license out the Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard names.

By Kim Peterson Apr 5, 2012 2:01PM
Image: Sears sign© Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty ImagesKenmore aprons? Craftsman boots? Those could be headed to stores soon now that Sears Holdings (SHLD) is renting out those brand names to interested companies.

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.

Post continues below.
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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Apr 5, 2012 6:33PM
Contrast Sears with Apple.  Steve Jobs would never have risked cheapening the Apple brand just to enhance the bottom line.  The trash heap of history is littered with companies that didn't protect their brand.  Will Sears be next?
Apr 5, 2012 4:32PM
Sears and Eddie Lampert don't know their **** from their elbow and that's a fact. Plus they owe me a good chunk of change.
Apr 5, 2012 5:46PM
Eddie Lampert should try to run a business not worry about how much money hes going to clear at the end of the year... that might be a good starter...and keep customers happy and secure you can't get a straight answer when you walk into a store so you just walk out ....
Apr 5, 2012 5:39PM
He's totally off his rocker, he's selling it all down the creek and he'll keep making his millions and millions, no one will stop these greedy CEOs, because they want them to keep ripping off employees and customers.
Apr 6, 2012 2:36AM
Why not Sears has already sold off Discover Card and Alstate Ins Co to the highest bidder
Apr 5, 2012 7:22PM
Craftsman is already junk. Kenmore isn't much better. Since Mr. Real Estate took over Sears is the last place I shop anymore.
Apr 6, 2012 3:41AM
Can you stop saying "UM" your a chariman! Get some education in english.
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