. The deal represents a significant strategy shift for the retailer by expanding the distribution of its in-house brands in other chains.
Craftsman hand tools, power tools and tool storage units will start appearing on Costco shelves as early as Saturday, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Craftsman tools are slated to roll out to all of Costco Wholesale Corp.'s roughly 430 U.S. stores this year, with the assortment varying by location.
In spring 2010, Sears began distributing Craftsman tools through 100 Ace Hardware stores, and has expanded to 960 Ace Hardware stores this summer. To help Costco stand out from the Ace Hardware deal, Sears is bundling some Craftsman tools in unique combinations, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"As we externalize the brand, we're trying to be thoughtful about reaching shoppers we aren't reaching at Sears today," Kris Malkoski, vice president and general manager of the Craftsman brand at Sears Holdings, told the Chicago Tribune. "It's an opportunity to bring the equity of this product to households that aren't going to Sears."