Sears selling Craftsman at Costco

Craftsman Tools will soon be sold through Costco, adding another retailer to the list of outlets that includes brand-owner Sears, Kmart and, more recently, Ace Hardware stores.

An article in the Chicago Tribune reported that the popular brand of Craftsman hand tools, power tools and tool storage units will start appearing on Costco shelves as early as Saturday. Sears said the Craftsman tools are slated to roll out to all of Costco’s roughly 430 U.S. stores this year, with the assortment varying by location.

In spring 2010, Ace Hardware and Sears announced a merchandising agreement allowing Ace dealers to sell Craftsman-branded tools in 2010. The Oak Brook, Ill., buying group has rolled out the program to more than 900 stores this year and aims for 1,000 units by September.

Craftsman products have been a draw at Sears stores for generations, and they were more recently made available at Sears' sister company Kmart, after the two retail giants merged.

To help Costco stand out from the Ace Hardware deal, Sears is bundling some Craftsman tools in unique combinations, according to the article. Costco shoppers, for example, can find a drill packaged with a light for fixing hard-to-see spots under the kitchen sink or a package of wrenches and sockets aimed at automotive use. 

Craftsman Tools that have been showing up at Menards are just surplus SKUs, a Sears spokesman told the newspaper. 

When contacted by Home Channel News regarding the Costco deal, Ace issued a press release including the following: "Since the inception of its agreement with Sears to sell Craftsman, Ace has remained the exclusive retailer of Craftsman products in the convenience hardware industry. More than 1,200 of its stores will carry a full line assortment by year’s end. Ace’s stores participating in the program can currently carry more than 650 individual items, with an additional 400 products scheduled for in-store displays in the next 90 days. The increase is thanks to a new commitment to feature Craftsman mowers, tractors, hand-held power equipment, snow throwers, and garden hoses in select stores."

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