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Sears and JCPenney Ramp Up Appliance Sales

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At Sears and JCPenney, everything old is new again as the two traditional retailers redouble their efforts to sell large appliances. This week Sears announced it was beginning to open appliance-only stores and JCPenney said its plunge back into the major appliance market after 33 years is going swimmingly with new appliance departments in 500 stores.

In addition to adding floor space, the retailers are ramping up their online offerings and better integrating their online and at-store sales so you can order something online and pick it up at the store or visit a store and then order online. That’s a strategy that has paid off for many of the appliance retailers covered in Consumer Reports’ Appliance Store survey.

Sears is already the largest seller of appliances in the U.S. and hopes to stay on top. In addition to its own Kenmore brand, Sears said it would stock its appliance-focused stores with...