Kmart Short On Specifics For Turnaround

May 26, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

At yesterday’s annual shareholder meeting, Kmart chairman, Edward Lampert, was clear on what the retailer wouldn’t be doing to try and turnaround its lagging same-store sales

Kmart wouldn’t try to be a second or third-rate version of Wal-Mart by going head-to-head with the world’s largest retailer and failing. It also wouldn’t be completely remodeling stores to project a new image.

Mr. Lampert was less clear, however, on what Kmart would do other than trying to strengthen its apparel offerings and making tweaks to existing store layouts by creating wider aisles.

“I wish I could tell you that there is some grand five-year plan,” he said. “We’re taking baby steps to try to define a message that we think … will resonate with customers.”

“We want to give customers a reason … to shop our stores,” he said. “We have a broader vision of the type of customer we want to attract. We have an opportunity to chase back customers we chased away.”

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on Kmart’s specifics-short plan to turn itself around? What must it do
to be successful?

We have to admit having a little trouble getting our brain around the notion of Kmart recapturing customers it lost. Presumably, the chain lost most of
its shoppers to Wal-Mart. If that is true than low prices was the motivation for leaving. Kmart has made clear it doesn’t intend to go down that path. Instead, with its emphasis
on developing hipper apparel, it would seem that Kmart believes it has a better chance going head-to-head with Target.

George Anderson – Moderator

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