Taking the Super Out of Kmart
By George Anderson
The decision by management to close three Super Kmarts in the Memphis, Tenn. market has increased speculation that the chain and its Sears Holdings parent intends to get out of the supercenter business altogether.
David Livingston, principal of DJL Research and a member of the RetailWire BrainTrust told The Detroit News, “They (Kmart) never did well with this concept, and it never did take off. They never had the skill to operate supermarkets.”
Kenneth Dalto, a retail analyst in Farmington Hills, Mich. said, “They are trying to compete with the Wal-Marts of the world, and that’s not Kmart’s market. They’ll never be able to compete with those guys on price, and Super Kmart will probably go by the wayside.”
“When you look at Sears and Kmart together, there is no food company there,” said Gary Ruffing, a retail analyst with BBK Ltd. in Southfield, Mich. “This is something Kmart never made a commitment to, and I don’t expect Sears to. If somebody walks in and says ‘we want to buy super centers,’ they would sell them.”
Moderator’s Comment: Should Kmart and parent Sears Holdings get out of the food business or is there an opportunity for the company to fix what is clearly
We thought when the Sears Grand concept came into being that it was simply a matter of time before most of the Super Kmarts were converted to that format.
It would appear that is not the case. Kmart will have one Super Kmart open in the Memphis area after the other three (Memphis and Cordova, Tenn. and South Haven, Miss.) close.
George Anderson – Moderator