Bloomingdale's to start selling high-end appliances ahead of the holidays as Sears struggles

Key Points
  • Bloomingdale's will add high-end LG Electronics appliances to its flagship store in New York. 
  • It's watching to see how the category performs this holiday season before deciding if it will add appliances to other locations. 
  • The move into appliances comes right after Sears, once the top appliances retailer in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy protection. 
Pedestrians pass in front of a Bloomingdale's store in New York.
David Williams | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Luxury department store operator Bloomingdale's is making a push to sell appliances ahead of this holiday season, seeing a share of the market up for grabs.

Bloomingdale's, known for its vast selection of handbags, high heels and designer dresses, now hopes to win the dollars of shoppers looking to outfit their kitchens. It already offers a variety of other cookware, like KitchenAid mixers, coffee machines and toaster ovens.

The move comes as Sears, once a dominant appliance retailer, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is shutting stores. Other competitors in the space looking to capitalize on that opportunity include Home Depot, Best Buy, J.C. Penney and Lowe's.

Bloomingdale's twist is focusing on the higher-end appliances, where sales are doing particularly well in the past few years, according to data compiled by Euromonitor. On Nov. 19, it will open a shop selling high-end LG Electronics appliances within its flagship department store in New York on 59th Street. It will also start selling those items on its website, the company announced Wednesday. This marks the first time the chain has ventured into selling larger home appliances like refrigerators.

The plan is for the space to stay open into 2019, and depending on how well it performs, the company will consider adding it to other locations, and adding more brands to the mix, Dan Leppo, executive vice president of the men's and home departments at Bloomingdale's, told CNBC.

In the New York store, Bloomingdale's will take the floor where it houses home goods to turn it into an "LG Signature" experience. There, shoppers will find items like LG Signature TVs, counter-depth refrigerators, washer/dryer combos, air purifiers and dishwashers.

Spending on major consumer appliances in the U.S. rose 46 percent between 2012 and 2017, Euromonitor said. Sears, with its Kenmore brand, used to be the No. 1 appliance retailer with a 40 percent share of the market, but that title was taken by Lowe's in 2013, according to a list compiled by TWICE, a consumer electronics industry trade publication that tracks sales of appliances.

Department store operator Penney in 2016 started selling larger home appliances after a hiatus in the business for more than three decades, as it started to see Sears stumble. But even Penney now is trying to regain its footing, having recently named former Joann CEO Jill Soltau to replace the chief it lost to Lowe's.

Euromonitor has said the home appliance industry could reach as much as $38 billion in sales by 2020. A separate report by NPD Group found sales of appliances online have continued to climb, with refrigerators being the most frequent purchase from that category made on the web.

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