What happened

Shares of Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:SHLDQ) were up 5.2% as of 1:00 p.m. EDT Tuesday after the department store chain entered international licensing agreements for its Kenmore and DieHard brands.

More specifically, Sears announced that Celva North America Inc. will manufacture Kenmore and Kenmore Elite vacuums and accessories for global retail distribution, and Dorcy International will manufacture DieHard batteries and flashlights for distribution in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Caribbean, Latin America, and select South Pacific locations.

Sears exterior store front


So what

"Both of these agreements are examples of our expansion strategy to unleash the power of these iconic brands internationally," added Tom Park, president of Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard brands. "We will have direct and active involvement in building the business with our licensing partners and we're confident that both Cleva and Dorcy will maintain our high quality standards."

Now what

That said, terms of the deals weren't disclosed. And this news follows Sears' recent decision to begin selling Kenmore appliances through Amazon.com -- a move that should certainly bolster sales for the company's flagship brand, but also spurred worries that any gains could come at the expense of Sears' struggling retail business.

But adding new manufacturers with international markets in mind makes much more sense for Sears at this stage as the company strives to return to sustained, profitable growth. While it remains to be seen whether that's enough to accomplish that goal -- at least in combination with Sears' cost-cutting and store closure initiatives -- this is at least a step in the right direction. And it's no surprise to see Sears shares climbing today.

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