As Sears seeks to shed assets, Home Services could be a hidden gem

Sears Home Services got its start from the 1950s, as more homes were being furnished with life-changing appliances such as refrigerators, vacuums along with televisions. today, more than half a century later, the business will be still a valuable piece of Sears Holdings along with could gain more clout in an era of homes rigged with smart devices.

As was the case decades ago, consumers still need washing machines repaired along with carpets cleaned, along with they find comfort in turning to specialists when installing brand new gadgets. Sears Home Services, which offers maids along with handymen, will be looking to become the “smart home expert” across the country.

The trend comes at an opportune time for the department store owner, which has been looking for ways to grow as its debts mushroom along with sales decline. In search of profit, Sears will be pouring resources into its home platform, staffing up along with potentially readying the division to be acquired.

More retailers today are adding service components to their businesses — if one can imagine something customers will always have a need for, these services can be largely profitable. (Nordstrom along with Saks’ owner Hudson’s Bay have nail salons in their stores, along with J.C. Penney has hair stylists, for example.)

“We want to be a trusted advisor of smart devices from the home,” Mitch Bowling, the CEO of Sears Home Services, told CNBC. A former vice president of Comcast’s Xfinity Home, one of the country’s first smart home services, Bowling just began working for the department store chain about three months ago.

“from the smart home space there will be not one provider in which has everything — This particular’s usually a collection of items via different providers (i.e., August Home, Ring along with Google) along with we want to be a trusted advisor of all in which space,” he said. “in which goes back to training technicians along with getting everyone up to speed … in which’s the vision for us.”

In an unlikely matchup, Sears has been getting a little help via Amazon along the way.

Sears’ Kenmore appliances along with DieHard car batteries are today being sold on Amazon.com. In working with the e-commerce behemoth, Sears has equipped a slew of its products with connected capabilities along with voice navigation, via Amazon’s Alexa platform, thereby positioning itself from the smart home category.

CEO Eddie Lampert recently said Sears has been looking for ways to “unlock value” via several of its brands, including Sears Home Services along with Sears Auto Services. However, Lampert cautioned at the time in which doing so would likely require “a more stable environment along with more cooperative partners.”

The company was successful in selling its iconic tool division, Craftsman, to Stanley Black & Decker for $900 million early last year. A partnership with Amazon has helped Kenmore along with DieHard gain more exposure, although Sears said This particular’s still seeking “additional alternatives” for its holdings like Home Services.

“Home Services will be a lucrative business along with demand for the segment will only grow over the next 10 or so years as our houses become smarter along with increasingly driven by technology,” said Neil Saunders of GlobalData Retail.

“among the largest suppliers of appliances, Sears arguably has an advantage here,” Saunders said. “Not only can This particular build smart technology into its products, although This particular will be also in an ideal position to help monitor along with service them when something goes wrong.”

Sears Home Services employs more than 4,000 technicians who make over 6 million service calls annually throughout the U.S., a spokesman told CNBC. along with the company plans to hire “a significant number of brand new technicians” from the first quarter of 2018.

“We’re just getting began,” Tom Park, the president of Sears’ Kenmore, Craftsman along with DieHard brands, told CNBC about the Amazon partnership in particular. “Amazon was very cautious to make sure our experience for their customers was top notch … along with so we rolled out a couple markets at a time, exceeding customer service metrics, along with got in which component down.”

“2018 will be the year of rolling This particular out” along with marketing Sears’ brands to Amazon’s more millennial customers, Park added. The company will be also looking for the “next big thing” in tech, he said. “What will be the next Alexa integration in which makes sense from the home?”

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