Sears and JCPenney Ramp Up Appliance Sales

But can they compete with the other retailers in Consumer Reports' survey?

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 the top 10 brands of major appliances. JCPenney is selling appliances from Samsung, LG, GE, and Hotpoint.

“It’s very easy to put boxes in a store and put a price on them,” said Edward Lampert, Sears chairman and CEO. “To be able to deliver, install and repair them, that becomes a lot more complicated.”

Indeed. In our appliance store survey, more than 56,000 of our subscribers told us about their experiences buying more than 80,000 large and small appliances and price, selection, and service were some of the major factors resulting in whether or not they were satisfied with their purchase. And, from what they said about Sears, there’s room for improvement. JCPenney was not included in the survey because it was not selling appliances at the time. Overall, subscribers were satisfied with almost all the retailers but Abt Electronics came out on top for both large and small appliance purchases and Amazon.com was next. Here’s some of the winners.

A new Sears appliance-only store in Fort Collins, CO.

Large Appliances

Best for price

  • Abt Electronics and Appliances
  • Amazon.com
  • Nebraska Furniture Mart

Best for selection

  • Abt Electronics and Appliances
  • Nebraska Furniture Mart

Best for delivery, installation, and haul-away

  • Abt Electronics and Appliances
  • Local independents
Appliances on display at a JCPenney store.

Small Appliances

Best for price

  • Abt Electronics and Appliances
  • Amazon.com
  • Costco

Best for selection

  • Abt Electronics and Appliances
  • Amazon.com

Best for in-store service

  • Abt Electronics and Appliances
  • Williams-Sonoma
  • Local independents

Best website usability

  • Amazon.com

Where to Shop

Our appliance store Ratings include regional, warehouse, big-box, department store, independent, and online retailers. To see how your favorite store fared, see our full Appliance Store Ratings. And before you shop, check the results of our tests of large and small appliances.

Where do you shop?

Tell us where you bought your last appliance.


Mary H.J. Farrell

Knowing that I wanted to be a journalist from a young age, I decided to spiff up my byline by adding the middle initials "H.J." A veteran of online and print journalism, I've worked at People, MSNBC, Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and an online Consumer Reports wannabe. But the real thing is so much better. Follow me on Twitter.