Ongoing structural and strategic challenges at Sears are taking a greater toll on the retailer’s core appliance business.
According to TWICE’s annual Top 50 Major Appliance Retailers Report, Sears, long the crown prince of appliances, has slipped to third place in the majap rankings, behind the twin home-improvement colossi of Lowe’s and The Home Depot.
In the process, Sears shed a billion dollars in white-goods revenue last year, reducing its Top 50 market share to 19.5 percent, from 23.5 percent in 2014.
The rankings, tabulated with TWICE market research partner The Stevenson Company, represent better than 90 percent of total major appliance retail sell-through in the U.S.
Similarly, Sears sister chain Kmart, which headquarters hoped would benefit from the introduction of Kenmore appliances, saw its majap sales slip 16 percent, and its ranking fall from 24th to 30th place.
Sears’ appliance spiral could further accelerate this year when chief shopping mall rival JCPenney rolls out majap departments to half its stores beginning next month.
The findings follow last week’s revelation that Sears Holdings is looking to cash out its Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard private-label brands — considered to be the company’s crown jewels — and has retained two investment banks to help develop partnerships or “other transactions.”
Sears, which held sway with a 40 percent lock on U.S. appliance sales just 20 years ago, was unseated as the No. 1 appliance chain in 2013 by Lowe’s following the spinoff of its Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores business the previous year.
The Hometown chain placed fifth on this year’s TWICE Top 50 rankings with a 1.1 percent gain, while total Top 50 sales rose 3.7 percent.