For those of you who are big DIY fans, soon you will be able to get your Craftsman tool fix at Costco instead of needing to make a separate trip to Sears. You should be able to see the tools starting any day now at your local Costco US warehouse, though the selection will vary by location. And not only will they be selling tools, hand tools and power tools both, but also the nice tool storage units as well.
Sears has been carrying Craftsman tools since 1927, when it paid $500 for the rights to the name from the Marion-Craftsman tool company. During that 83 year history, Craftsman tools have always been sold exclusively through Sears (well, and Kmart after they took them over). So, this new strategy of selling at other retailers represents a big change for Sears and the Craftsman line of tools. In 2010 Ace Hardware also began selling Craftsman tools as well.
Since Ace Hardware also sells Craftsman tools now, Sears has agreed to add some value for Costco customers by bundling them in special packages. For example, at Costco you will be able to find a drill packaged with a light for fixing hard-to-see spots under the kitchen sink or a package of wrenches and sockets ideal for tinkering on cars.
Sears has apparently been toying with the idea of selling the tools at other retailers for quite some time, but worried that it would take away from their in-store business since these tools were a big reason a lot of people visited the stores in the first place. Craftsman’s power historically has been in drawing shoppers to Sears stores, rather than in contributing to the bottom line. Craftsman tools generated about $3 billion of Sears Holdings’ $43 billion in revenue last year, analysts estimate. But times have changed and they’ve decided to open up the distribution channel in hopes of gaining some new customers – customers that might never go to Sears for tools.
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