Sears is the place to buy patio furniture and power tools. But Rolexes and $10,000-plus diamond jewelry?
The venerable retailer’s online Marketplace has, for the last three years, let third parties sell products through the company’s website, similar to how the Amazon Marketplace works. Among them are items not traditionally associated with Sears, like a $14,000 Hublot Big Blue watch and $12,000 diamond rings.
The seeming incongruity of those items appearing on the Sears website was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which called it “one of the most counterintuitive strategies in retail today.” But it said that “luxury vendors said Sears representatives have stressed in meetings that the company was trying to revamp its image and become more hip.”
The site also includes a generous selection of Rolexes, mostly pre-owned and sold by Overstock.com. But some appear to be new, such as this Rolex Yacht-Master II Mens Watch 116689, being offered for $33,000 by Bob’s Watches.
“Our broader message is that we have added 85 million items to the Marketplace,” says Sears spokesman Brian Hanover. “Certainly higher-end items are among those, including jewelry and designer items.”
Hanover wouldn’t specify how sales of these high-end items have fared compared to others, but says, “We have been very happy with the performance of Marketplace so far. We are very pleased with the growth to 85 million items in just three years.”
Most collectors of these items seem skeptical; wrote one on a watch forum: “I know Sears wants to do this to improve their image but this screams gimmick and risk to me.”
Rolex did not return requests for comment from JCK.
Sears is not the first counterintuitive retailer to go into items traditionally sold by jewelers. Bed Bath & Beyond has sold jewelry on its site for the past year. And Best Buy is now selling smartwatches in its stores.