If you can't beat them, you might as well join them.
Sears announced on Thursday it will sell its Kenmore-branded appliances on Amazon. The iconic — but beleaguered — retailer plans to integrate Amazon's Alexa platform into its smart appliances, allowing customers to control appliances, such as air conditioning units, with their voice.
"The launch of Kenmore products on Amazon.com will significantly expand the distribution and availability of the Kenmore brand in the U.S.," Sears CEO Eddie Lampert said in a statement.
It’s an interesting reversal of fortune for Sears, whose sales have been in the hole for years — mainly due to competition from e-commerce sites such as Amazon.
But the new partnership is undoubtedly a lifeline for the 130-year-old retailer, who admitted earlier this year that it doubted its own ability to remain afloat, amid tanking sales and negative headlines.
"Working with Amazon is perfectly aligned with our omni-channel strategy to unleash the power and service of Kenmore and support the brand's growth," Tom Park, President of Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard brands, said in a statement.
The news seemed to invigorate investors, with shares of Sears Holdings jumping 19 percent on Thursday.
Earlier this year, Lampert told the Chicago Tribune the company was "fighting like hell to change the way people do business with us." Just this week, he lent the retailer $200 million from his own hedge fund.
"It's up to us to basically demonstrate to people that we can drive results to get people behind us," he said.
As for Amazon, the deal represents almost no risk, analysts say.
"If the business doesn’t warrant the space that Amazon provides it on their site, it will disappear," said Mark A. Cohen, a former Sears executive who is now the Director of Retail Studies at Columbia University. "Amazon is not shouldering the burden of delivery, installation, and service — which is a major component of the appliance business."
When a customer orders a Kenmore appliance on Amazon, Sears will also offer a white-glove delivery and installation service, according to the announcement.
"Sears used to have a world-class installation and service operation," Cohen told NBC News. "If it does a decent job at this, it’s a way of keeping the brand alive."