Sears Hires Experienced Consumer Appliance Executive To Run Hardlines, Maybe Sell Stuff

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In a department or discount store, “hardlines” refers to tools, appliances, and furniture: the items that your parents still shop at Sears for, but that you don’t. Sears has hired a new executive in charge of their hardlines departments, which include the company’s three most important house brands: Kenmore appliances, Diehard automobile batteries, and Craftsman tools.

The new president of hardlines, Lynn Pendergast, previously worked at Johnson & Johnson, HP, and General Electric. She worked in appliances at General Electric, yet as far as we know is not the real-life female version of Jack Donaghy.

One investor speculates that the company’s goal is to put its signature products in even more stores as the network of physical Sears and Kmart stores shrinks. Notably, you can find Craftsman products at Costco and Ace Hardware, Diehard batteries at Meijer, and both lines at Blaine’s Farm and Fleet stores. Will consumers want to buy, say, a Kenmore stove at Home Depot, if the companies agreed to make that happen?

Manifesto-writing CEO Eddie Lampert said in a statement that he believes that Ms. Pendergast is a “proven executive” and that she is “a strong fit for Sears Holdings as we pursue our member-focused transformation.”

As a reminder, here “member” refers to the Sears Holdings Shop Your Way Rewards program, which most people join after being badgered by a cashier to provide their e-mail address or phone number. It’s one of the more simple and useful retail rewards programs, but that isn’t saying very much. Yet the focus on “members” is because Lampert believes that the rewards program is integral to the future success of Sears Holdings, and possibly also because he hates the word “customer.”

Sears looks to boost Kenmore and Craftsman brands with new hire [Reuters]

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