You could say it's where the rubber meets the road.
In a sign that Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) is seeking more funds to prop up its ailing empire, it announced on Tuesday, June 12, that 118 Auto Centers, up from 47, now will be available as service centers to install tires bought on Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) .
The legacy retailer announced the ship-to-store collaboration in May. The service is rolling out at centers across the country, the company said.
Sears' DieHard brand tires are available on Amazon.com, but customers can buy any brand through the e-tailer and have them installed at a Sears Auto Center.
"Amazon customer reviews have been very positive, and we are two months ahead of schedule," said Mike McCarthy, vice president and general manager of Sears Automotive. "Customers are taking advantage of additional services during the tire installation process, such as oil changes and alignments. We are meeting our 60-minute tire installation commitment, and over 90% of the Amazon customers are new Sears Automotive customers."
The expansion with Amazon is part of a larger trend taking place at Sears, in which it is selling off assets and entering into partnerships to pay for operational costs to offset poor sales.
Some retail experts expect Sears to file for bankruptcy this year, while others have said it's hard to predict when the end for Sears will come. The company has closed thousands of stores, leaving the total footprint for Sears and Kmart locations at under 900, with the company planning to shut down 72 more stores "in the near future."
In a first-quarter earnings release on May 31, Sears reported total same-store sales dropped nearly 12%, with the biggest decline coming from Sears stores at 13.4% and Kmart stores at nearly 10%. Same-store sales are a measure of a retailer's health, and the metric thus revealed Sears has been gasping for air.
Amazon began selling Sears' Kenmore appliances on its site July 17, and Sears is exploring whether to sell Kenmore. In 2017, it sold its Craftsman tool brand to Stanley Black & Decker Inc. (SWK) , a brand that's now available at Lowe's Cos. (LOW) .
Sears shares on Tuesday morning were up 5.8% to $2.55 but remain down 28.8% in 2018.
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