Is it time to close Kmart?
The chain is losing money, and sales are sliding. Is there any reason for it to stay in business?
Would Sears be better off closing Kmart? At the rate things are going, the answer is yes.
Kmart is stuck in a rut. Sales at its stores open at least a year fell 3.8% over the crucial holiday shopping season, The Wall Street Journal reports. Now it has just 0.6% of the nongrocery retail market. In the first nine months of its current fiscal year, the chain posted a $98 million operating loss and saw sales slide 5.5%.
We won't know for a while whether Kmart made a profit in 2012, but it lost money on an operating basis in 2011.
The Kmart stores that I've been to are remarkably similar. They're dirty. The shelves are cluttered, yet the customers are gone. Employees are nowhere to be found.
The Journal found a similar scene at a Kmart in Manhattan, where it reported abandoned carts full of merchandise, unevenly stacked towels and unfolded pajama sets lying about. "The tile floors looked as though they hadn't been mopped in some time, and clothes were piled in the corners of the dressing rooms," Dana Mattioli wrote.
Kmart stores in New Jersey took that a step further, selling expired infant formula and over-the-counter drugs. The chain will pay more than $300,000 in fines and be subject to inspections as a result.
Kmart used to fill an important role for budget-conscious shoppers. But those customers have many more places now that can meet their needs. Dollar stores sell groceries and household necessities. Wal-Mart (WMT) has a bigger selection than Kmart, often at lower prices.
In fact, the Journal cited data showing Kmart's prices were higher than Wal-Mart's and Target's (TGT) in five out of six items it checked at all stores.
Granted, that's a pretty small sample. But if that holds true and Kmart isn't necessarily cheaper than competitors, then what is Kmart's reason for existing?
More in moneyNOW
- Abandoned no more: Schools become housing
- White Castle woos Valentine's Day diners
- Netflix shares soar on solid quarter
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the Thursday session on a mixed note ahead of Friday's nonfarm payrolls report for February (Briefing.com consensus 163K). The Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.4%) and S&P 500 (+0.2%) posted modest gains while the Nasdaq Composite (-0.1%) lagged throughout the session.
Equities began the trading day on an upbeat note following comments from the Bank of England and the European Central Bank, both of which reaffirmed their commitment to ... More
More Market News
Consumers are very status conscious in Asia, Africa and other emerging-market areas. This is especially true in China.
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'