NEW YORK (CNN Money) – Sears is getting a much needed lift from what is perhaps the company’s greatest nemesis. The iconic (but cash-starved) retailer reached a deal with Amazon to install tires which are purchased on Amazon’s website, Sears announced Wednesday.
Amazon has also agreed to start selling the Sears DieHard brand of tires. However, Sears Auto Centers will install all tires that are purchased on Amazon, regardless of the brand, for a fee. The DieHard tires and Sears installation services were listed on Amazon soon after the announcement.
Amazon already sells tires online, giving shoppers a network of different auto shops at which to have the tires installed.
The announcement pumped some life into Sears stock, lifting shares by 19 percent in trading soon after.
This is not the first deal between Amazon and Sears. Last year, Sears started selling its Kenmore appliances on Amazon, the first time that it had allowed the sale of that brand at any other retailer. It started selling DieHard products other than tires on Amazon late last year.
Sears is still struggling to raise cash, stem huge losses and battle a steady decline in sales. The company is trying to find buyers for the Kenmore and DieHard brands after selling its Craftsman tool brand last year to Stanley Black & Decker.
Total sales at Sears Holdings, which includes Sears and Kmart, plunged nearly 25 percent in 2017. A lot of that was because of store closings. But even at stores that stayed open, sales fell 14 percent for the year. It has posted losses totaling $10.8 billion since 2010, its last profitable year.
The problems for Sears go well beyond the competitive threat posed by Amazon. But the growing preference of shoppers for online purchases is clearly one of the problems for the department store chain.
Before Amazon became a force in the market, big box retailers including Walmart and Home Depot had already eaten away at much of Sears’ core business. Its cash position has become so dire that it has little money to invest on marketing or upgrading stores.
Doubts about its ability to remain in business has suppliers demanding cash up front, limiting the selection of goods available in its remaining stores.
Sears was once the largest and most important retailer in the nation, akin to a combination of Walmart and Amazon. Getting a deal to handle the installation of someone else’s sales would have been beneath the company. It’s now one of few recent pieces of good news.
Meanwhile, sales, profits and share prices have been soaring at Amazon. In only the first three months of the year, Amazon’s profits more than doubled to $1.6 billion.
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