Plot thickens for Sears’ brands

Who would have thought that hand tools could contain such drama? First came the reports that Craftsman Tools, Sears’ iconic brand, were showing up at some Menards stores in the Midwest. This ruffled some feathers at Ace Hardware, which has the exclusive on Craftsman in the “convenience hardware industry.” Ace merchants assured their members that the Menards deal was a one-time event; the tools were just overstock merchandise. 

Meanwhile, Scott Freidheim, the president of the Craftsman, Kenmore and DieHard brands at Sears Holdings, resigned to pursue another opportunity. 

In Act II, Sears agreed to sell hand and power tool Craftsman sets through Costco. The line is scheduled to roll out to all Costco stores this year. Ace responded by beefing up its Ace program with 400 more SKUs, including outdoor power equipment. 

Act III may involve the Kenmore brand. Sears Holdings is now looking for a chief marketing officer for its appliance line who is capable of “going external” with the house brand of major appliances.