Wal-Mart’s Flattery Aims to Capture Kmart Shoppers

Dec 30, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery than Kmart may be receiving admiration from an unlikely source — Wal-Mart.

A New York Times report says Wal-Mart is ramping up its Mainstays store brand line of kitchenware and other household items with a nod to Martha Stewart’s Everyday brand in its product lineup and packaging.

The similarities are striking enough, says the Times, that at least “one shopper browsing recently in the crafts section of a Wal-Mart in Monroe, N.Y., said she thought Mainstays was a new line started by Ms. Stewart for Wal-Mart.”

Wal-Mart’s move to an in-house line of products similar to Ms. Stewart’s is certainly not a new strategy for the retailer that has employed the strategy with store brands in other categories.

Burt Flickinger, a managing partner with Strategic Resource Group, said Mainstays could hasten the demise so many are predicting for Kmart. “We figure they’ve got a couple of Christmases left. If Martha starts to crack, that could speed things up by a year.”

Moderator’s Comment: Is Wal-Mart’s Mainstays a serious
threat to the Martha Stewart’s sales in Kmart?

The price points and marketing strategy on the Mainstay
line tell us that Wal-Mart is more interested in keeping its own shoppers in
its stores to buy these items than trying to bring Martha Stewart brand devotees
over from Kmart.

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