Sears expands Auto Center partnership with Amazon to more stores

  • Sears has been using its Auto Centers to help install car tires ordered on Amazon.com.
  • The service will now be available at more Sears stores, bringing the total to more than 100 locations.

Sears Holdings said Tuesday it's expanding its partnership with Amazon across the U.S.

The department store chain announced plans last month to work with the e-commerce giant to install car tires, from any brand including its own DieHard, ordered on Amazon.com. The retailer has been using its Auto Centers, where customers can opt to have their tires shipped there and then installed by Sears' employees for a small fee.

This was initially available at 47 Sears Auto Centers. Sears said Tuesday it has added 71 shops to the program, bringing the total to 118.

Sears shares briefly spiked as much as 12 percent in premarket trading on the news. The stock was up 7 percent late in the morning.

"Amazon customer reviews have been very positive and we are two months ahead of schedule," Mike McCarthy, vice president and general manager of Sears Automotive, said in a statement.

He said customers are also "taking advantage" of additional services, like oil changes, when they come to Sears to get their tires installed.

Sears is looking for ways to grow sales and get back to profitability, as traffic to its Sears and Kmart stores has tanked in recent years. The company has liabilities mounting but also has found ways to refinance its debt of late and extend maturities. CEO Eddie Lampert, with his hedge fund vehicle ESL Investments, has played a key role in keeping Sears afloat.

Earlier this month, Sears said it would be closing dozens more stores in the near future. It has shed hundreds of locations over the past few years. The company is also actively considering selling some of its assets to ESL, including the Kenmore brand.

Click here to see all the cities where Sears will install car tires ordered on Amazon.com.