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?
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It's like they have taken a page out of the movie Electric Dreams where the store clerk tells Miles that for $4.95 an hour, I don't know any more than I have to! It's like the employees know K-Mart is a dying entity, and they are just zombies meandering about their tasks until the coroner declares the final death confirmation.
Any more, I usually avoid going to any K-Mart, as it's just not worth the time and hassle. I say close them all and turn them into something useful like a Jimmy Johns or something!
K-Mart in Lawton, OK is great!! I can stil lay-a-way the things I need during the entire year. Wal-mart is a poor alternative....no lay-a-way until Christmas and most of the time the electronics I buy need to be taken back. The store is clean here and I love the sales (both announced and unannounced). Closing K-mart here would be a very bad idea indeed........
Kmart and Sears are one in the same and personally I say close them all! Their prices are ridiculous and the customer service is awful. Too bad, cause Sears used to be a great store to shop at. And their Craftsman tools are garbage now. Made in China! Bye bye Sears/Kmart.
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