Some complementary thoughts on the major appliance business

Here are two back-to-back comments (from RetailWire)…first, about JCP’s accelerated move into the major appliance business and second, about Sears’ plan to expand free-standing stores:

If JCP moved up its announcement about major appliances to counteract a speculative “news story,” they are giving the New York Post more credit than it perhaps deserves. I take it as a positive that the test program is working, and that Penney is moving fast under Marvin Ellison’s leadership. As to “why appliances?” — the collapse of Sears represents low-hanging fruit for JCP, which has space to burn in its home store.

There is a Sears Appliance and Hardware store in the Milwaukee suburbs — I’m not clear whether it is owned-and-operated or a franchise outlet. (There is also another appliance store that is definitely franchised.) So I’m a bit surprised to read about this as a “new” concept, unless what’s new is the direct ownership by Sears.

The question with Sears Appliances is whether a rollout of freestanding stores can offset the bleeding of its core business, and the continuing amount of excess square footage that the company operates. But Sears’s appliance business has probably not been compromised by the overall collapse of the brand — so it’s not a bad idea on its own merits.

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