Craftsman at Menards just a test, says Sears

The appearance of Craftsman tools at some Menards stores in the Midwest -- which has set off much speculation about channel exclusives for the popular brand -- is being used to liquidate discontinued items, a Sears spokesman told the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel.

"Given Menards' history appealing to the heavy do-it-yourselfers ... we felt there is a natural reason to believe that Craftsman would sell effectively at Menards," said Sears Holding Corp. spokesman Larry Costello.

The sale of discontinued SKUs is an experimental program, the article said.

Ace Hardware announced an exclusive merchandising agreement allowing its dealers to sell a limited collection of Craftsman-branded tools in 2010, and the Oak Brook, Ill., buying group has been rolling out the program this year to hundreds of member stores.

News of the Craftsman tools being sold at Menards stores became public this month, and Ace merchants assured their members that the Menards items were overstocked tools and the program was not a permanent one.

On Aug. 23, Scott Freidheim, president of the Craftsman, Kenmore and DieHard brands at Sears Holdings, resigned his position, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Freidheim, who took over the position seven months ago, is leaving on Sept. 2 “to pursue another opportunity,” the SEC filing said.

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