Another Sears brand is being peeled off as Advance Auto Parts will acquire the DieHard brand and its popular, iconic battery line from Sears’ parent company for $200 million, providing a much-needed cash infusion, according to CNBC.
Two years ago, Sears sold its Craftsman tool brand to Stanley Black & Decker for an estimated $900 million, and this past August lease-to-own retailer Sears Hometown was sold to tax prep firm Liberty Tax for $133 million, preventing a potential business failure.
The latter deal nixed a $121 million offer earlier in the summer from Transform Holdco, headed by former Sears CEO Eddie Lampert, which had allowed Sears Hometown to entertain other offers.
The departure of DieHard leaves the Kenmore line of home appliances as the strongest remaining brand in the company. Apparel retailer Lands’ End, which spun off from Sears in 2014, has been performing better as it detangles itself from its former parent, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company reported closing 89 locations in Sears stores in its most recent quarter.
While DieHard batteries had only been available at Sears stores and Amazon’s marketplace, the acquisition expands this significantly to Advance Auto’s 4,800 stores, as well as to Walmart’s new automotive stores launched in 2019 through a partnership.
Sears and Kmart owner Transformco will still be able to sell some DieHard products in Sears stores, Advance CEO Tom Greco told CNBC. Advance will also give Transformco an “exclusive royalty-free, perpetual license” to develop and market DieHard products in non-automotive categories.
“We have been looking at the [battery] category for a couple of years,” Greco told CNBC. “DieHard has the highest brand awareness and regard of any automotive battery brand in North America.”
In February 2019, a U.S. bankruptcy court judge approved the sale of Sears to Lampert’s group for $5.2 billion, keeping the company alive. The approval prevents Sears from liquidating the rest of its stores. Lampert had originally offered to keep 425 stores open and prevent the loss of 50,000 jobs.