My father taught me many lessons, right up to the time of his passing in 1996. One thing he taught me at an early age was to go to Sears when I needed a tool. “Always spend a little extra money and get a Craftsman-brand tool, they’ll stand behind it for life” he said. It looks like this may be in jeopardy.
Stanley, which makes and markets tools under the DeWalt and Black & Decker names, wants to grow the Craftsman brand by selling its products in more stores outside of Sears. Today, only 10 percent of Craftsman products are sold in stores other than Sears.
Sears said it will continue to sell Craftsman products at its Kmart and Sears Hometown stores. The Hoffman Estates, an Illinois-based company first took control of Craftsman in 1927 when it bought the trademark for a mere $500.
Sears has struggled, losing money for years as its revenue fell. The company also announced plans last week to close 150 stores, about 10 percent of its total 1,500 locations, and last week, the company said it received a line of credit for up to $500 million dollars to provide it with cash as it sells assets.
Stanley will pay Sears about $900 million for Craftsman, which includes $525 million when the deal closes this year, $250 million after three years and a percentage of sales for 15 years. After that, Sears will start paying Stanley 3 percent of its Craftsman sales.
Stanley isn’t saying whether a replacement promise would continue. For many years, commercials stated: “If for any reason your Craftsman hand tool ever fails to provide complete satisfaction, return it to any Sears store or other Craftsman outlet in the United States for free repair or replacement.” Sears somewhat revised its warranty process back in 2014, taking out the “any store” part noting tools had to be returned from whatever story they were bought from. The new policy also allowed stores to limit the number of replacements to three.
Many of you will remember this Craftsman commercial from 1991: