Michael Schaefer

Stanley is buying Craftsman

34 posts in this topic

A Wall Street Journal article, this morning, included information on the sale of Craftsman to Stanley. "The cash-strapped retailer will sell its iconic Craftsman brand to Stanley for about $900 million." 

Growing up on a farm Craftsman was the gold standard for (non motorized/electric) tools, lifetime warranty, made in the USA, good fit and finish, etc.  By the time I started buying my own tools, in the 90's, they seemed to be slipping; I'm hopeful that Stanley will help bring them back to their former glory.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/sears-sells-craftsman-brand-to-stanley-black-decker-1483623215?emailToken=JRrzc/p5ZHyQgNIxbMwn2VQydewTBuuNXRbcNnnEJlPJvXqQq/iowalwm9zyun%2BmQ0J39pUO62c0RnjdjWFpUdXUwuIvygn%2BICME8w%3D%3D

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Well considering Stanley is the parent company for all of these guys. Im certainly not worried. Ive had a few black and decker tools from the 90's last quite a long time. My corded drill is still able to spin that thinset and some concrete in a 5 gallon bucket without getting TOO HOT.

I own quite a bit of Porter Cable stuff and a handful of dewalt tools. Ive obviously been happy with them

 

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Stanley also just bought Newell Brands who have: 

Quote

Paper Mate®, Sharpie®, Dymo®, EXPO®, Parker®, Elmer’s®, Coleman®, Jostens®, Marmot®, Rawlings®, Oster®, Sunbeam®, FoodSaver®, Mr. Coffee®, Rubbermaid Commercial Products®, Graco®, Baby Jogger®, NUK®, Calphalon®, Rubbermaid®, Contigo®, First Alert®, Waddington and Yankee Candle®

 

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Just now, BonPacific said:

I wonder if I can get a combo-deal on a Dewalt Drill, some Craftsman wrenches, and a Yankee Candle.

I don't expect SBD to do much for the Craftsman Brand. They'll slot it in somewhere in their lineup, possibly even lower than the current stuff. Still, no worse than letting Sears take it down with itself.

Cosmoline and pallet wood scented candles?

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Just now, CandorLush said:

Cosmoline and pallet wood scented candles?

... Is it bad I'd actually consider that?

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toss in some hints of shrink wrap, cardboard and cast iron and I'd buy a case, nothing like the new tool smell!

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I guess Stanley will just re-brand their current line of wrenches, sockets and ratchets with the Craftsman brand, and maybe charge a bit more for them.

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Here's an interesting wrinkle: http://toolguyd.com/craftsman-brand-sold-to-stanley-black-decker/

From a reading there, Sears will continue to develop and sell their own Craftsman tools under a royalty-free license (15 years, 3% royalty after that). So there will be two distinct lines of Craftsman tools, the Sears stuff and the SBD stuff. SBD may buy some of the same import stock that Sears already sells under the craftsman brand.

An interesting idea that someone posted elsewhere is that SBD may position Craftsman as a lower-tier for their existing MAC tools brand, focus Craftsman on mechanics.

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I have some craftsman stuff. A belt sander, a 1/2" hammer drill and a band saw. All three have performed very well. I don't do a lot of hammer drilling, but when I've had to, the drill has worked, and saved me money over getting something over powered for my limited usage.

The 14" bandsaw I have is very solid. It was a good price and works quite well. I believe it was made by Rikon, as it matches their aesthetic and fits a Rikon 14" fence perfectly. A good value.

http://www.sears.com/craftsman-14-inch-band-saw/p-00932607000P?sid=IDx01192011x000001&gclid=CKywo6-4q9ECFQYQaQodGoUE_A&gclsrc=aw.ds

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26 minutes ago, Isaac Gaetz said:

The 14" bandsaw I have is very solid. It was a good price and works quite well. I believe it was made by Rikon, as it matches their aesthetic and fits a Rikon 14" fence perfectly. A good value.

http://www.sears.com/craftsman-14-inch-band-saw/p-00932607000P?sid=IDx01192011x000001&gclid=CKywo6-4q9ECFQYQaQodGoUE_A&gclsrc=aw.ds

I seem to remember that that particular bandsaw comes out of the same factory with three or four different brand names on it. That's one of the problems with our current market, names get slapped on just about anything. Most companies don't manufacture their own tools, it's all OEM white label stuff. That's not to say the OEM stuff is necessarily bad, its just frustrating to never know who actually made your tool.

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That's interesting.   I know in recent years I've seen Craftsman at Ace Hardware, even Menards at times.  I really don't see a lot of value in the Craftsman branded garage door openers, or snowblowers and such.   At least in terms of selling those outside of Sears.

The mechanics tool sets, and the storage is iconic, however.   I think if they brought back the quality, they could do well.   I've seen some Stanley wrench sets that look to be better quality than what Craftsman has been selling in recent years.   The new Dewalt branded stuff is higher quality, but maybe they shift things around?

Not sure on the power tools.   The Craftsman stuff is similar in quality and price to what I've seen recently from Porter Cable.   I'm not sure how the Craftsman brand would work here.   Craftsman certainly had a fuller line of tools, so maybe they can shift focus here.   Use the Craftsman brand for bench and stationary tools, and Porter cable for the portable and cordless stuff.

It's kind of sad what's been happening to Sears.   Maybe it was just inevitable, but certainly lowering the quality of their product did not help them in any way.

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Sears used to be pretty much the standard for a lot of things.  The older Craftsmen line was great.  Who didn't grow up without a Sears/Kenmore appliance? and if you needed a shirt that lasted a long time you bought a Wearmaster from them.  Once it was filled with fairly high quality goods at a fairly reasonable price, and had one of the best service and warranty departments you could want .  I remember them shipping out a new washing machine to my mom because she kept up the service plan and it was an old machine.  The pump in their washing machines was the same one for over 25 years (I have replaced them), so they were easy to fix as the economics of scale made them inexpensive.  They cut all those things out and are losing out to Walmart because now you get as good at there as at Sears.

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12 hours ago, CandorLush said:

Stanley also just bought Newell Brands who have: 

 

Stanley did not buy all of Newell Brands, only the Irwin and Lennox tools divisions.

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8 hours ago, sm0816 said:

 

Stanley did not buy all of Newell Brands, only the Irwin and Lennox tools divisions.

Right you are, I stand corrected and that makes WAY more sense

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I sold industrial supplies and I recall the district manager saying that hand tools are made in three factories in Europe.  Jonesway is one name that pops into my mind.  Anyone else recall anything along this line.  Recall that Sears has never made anything but their products were contracted out.  One item might hae been made by several companies.  I had a customer that made Craftsman power tools back in the early 70s.

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Anyone else recall anything along this line.  Recall that Sears has never made anything but their products were contracted out.  One item might hae been made by several companies.  I had a customer that made Craftsman power tools back in the early 70s.

Craftsman is (now was) a private label so it is hard to say who makes it in a general sense. Whoever manufacturers a particular tool last year may not be manufacturing this year. One of the reasons retailers like private label is for sourcing flexibility. It's possible the euro's are still manufacturing, but typically European manufacturing is considered expensive for many things in the world market. I would put money on Taiwan for hand tools, it is possible to get good quality from there if it is spec'd to be that way and the factory is reliable (tons of audits by the retailer). Although you can also get crap from there too.

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The three manufacturers I mentioned were in Europe, if my memory serves me.  They made wrenches, etc.

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Newell bought Irwin and most if not all the production was shifted overseas. My older QuickGrip clamps work much better than the new stuff. Stanley's reputation /behavior in recent years hasn't been any better.

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Stanley bought Mac Tools and the brand (Mac) went south......An ex Mac Tools distributor.

 

Like every other name brand company....Money makes the investors happy and that is the end of the story.

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I tried buying a washer from Sears a few years ago and I ended up cancelling the order for some reason or the other and it ended up being a complete hassle.  Even after everything was cancelled they still tried to make the delivery a few days later.  Going through the customer service in Indian to get a refund was a nightmare.   

Technology has made things perpetually worse in an ever continuing downward cycle.  Greed is good. 

What good is money if you can't buy anything good.

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19 minutes ago, sjeff70 said:

I tried buying a washer from Sears a few years ago and I ended up cancelling the order for some reason or the other and it ended up being a complete hassle.  Even after everything was cancelled they still tried to make the delivery a few days later.  Going through the customer service in Indian to get a refund was a nightmare.   

Technology has made things perpetually worse in an ever continuing downward cycle.  Greed is good. 

What good is money if you can't buy anything good.

Technology hasn't made the entire industry worse. This is an evolution of the brand. You can still buy great tools, just not those labelled Craftsman. You can still buy a good washing machine, and get good customer service, just not through Sears. Buy cheap and you get cheap service. Compare a company like Lee Valley or Lie Nielsen. Both offer excellent products, and excellent service, but they cost a lot more than a Stanley tool. The same applies to everything else.

This is an interesting blog post, highlighting the price changes through Sears. For comparable products in the 1970's, you had to work about three times as much to afford them. Put another way: If you want the same level of quality and service you could expect in 1970, you have to be willing to pay about 3 times more than what Sears sells today.

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1 hour ago, sjeff70 said:

I tried buying a washer from Sears a few years ago and I ended up cancelling the order for some reason or the other and it ended up being a complete hassle.  Even after everything was cancelled they still tried to make the delivery a few days later.  Going through the customer service in Indian to get a refund was a nightmare.   

Technology has made things perpetually worse in an ever continuing downward cycle.  Greed is good. 

What good is money if you can't buy anything good.

Actually the problem is management... They have this theory of maximizing shareholder value, and all the management schools teach that this means cutting your costs to boost profits without any regard for long term consequences.

On paper they'll see that indian call center saving them $50 million a year.  What they don't see, and what they can't measure is the $250 million a year in lost sales as a result of the lousy service.

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39 minutes ago, Minnesota Steve said:

Actually the problem is management... They have this theory of maximizing shareholder value, and all the management schools teach that this means cutting your costs to boost profits without any regard for long term consequences.

 

I don't think any management school teaches that it means cutting cost with no regard to long-term consequences.  In fact, nearly ALL business schools preach that you need to manage for long-term shareholder value.  

I have a business degree, am a professional investor, and I have read the classic texts  on shareholder value.  Copeland, Damodaran, Stern Stewart, etc.  None of them emphasize short term profits over long term value creation.  

But the fact is people don't do as they are taught and consumers prefer lots of cheap crap to a few high quality items.

But the market functions perfectly if you ask me.  For any item you buy, you can find something at multiple price points and the quality is almost directly related to the price.   

Ryobi < B&D < Dewalt < Bosch < Festool  

You get my point.  Yes, we all want Festool quality at Ryobi prices, but that simply does not exist.  Our grandparents understood this better than us.  My grandfather was a retail butcher but owned a couple custom made suits.  He kept them for 30 years (they can last that long, at least for a guy who wears a suit once a month).  He probably paid MORE in constant dollars than I'd paid today for the same level of quality, but I have a house full of obsolete electronics to replenish so I can't (or don't want to) spend that kind of money on a suit.  My grandparents had a solid mahogany bedroom set.  They owned it for nearly their entire adult lives.   It probably cost them 6 months salary.  Who would buy that nowadays?  

Consumers today actually have MORE choices than they ever have.  And the majority of consumers prefer cheap.

It is easy to pick on company that needs to cut costs.  But Sears is not a broken business because they outsourced a call center. Sears is a broken business because there has been a structural shift toward online shopping and their old business model of 80,000 sq ft stores selling everything from pantyhouse to car batteries  can not compete in a digital economy.  full stop.  Nothing less, nothing more.  

Also make no mistake, Sears stopped being a real company years ago, for the reason I just mentioned.  Eddie Lampert is really just a billion dollar craig's list seller, who bought a locker full of crap and is selling off the pieces as he can.  Is that wrong?  I don't know.  There are worse alternatives.

 

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2 hours ago, BonPacific said:

You can still buy a good washing machine

Since we're wandering far afield anyway . . . :)  I have empirical evidence to the contrary.  MIL is on her third washer in as many years yet my 20 year old Maytag just keeps washing clothes.

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