Once a retail giant with over 2,400 open stores, Kmart is fading away. According to media reports the unit in Avenel, New Jersey is ready to close for good April 16, leaving only three open stores in the continental U.S.
Kmart’s decline has been steady after years of falling sales, changes in shopping habits and competing with giants like Walmart or Amazon.
Quoted by the USA Today, Baltimore-based author and retail historian Michael Lisicky said Kmart was a part of America. “Everybody went to Kmart, whether you liked it or not. They had everything. This was almost as much of a social visit as it was a shopping visit,” he said.
This story started almost with the century. First Kmart filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early 2002 closing more than 250 stores.
Both Sears and Kmart were owned by Sears Holdings, which filed for Chapter 11 in 2018. According to media reports, Sears and Kmart have closed more than 3,500 stores and cut about 250,000 jobs in the past 15 years.
Today Kmart continue to operate in Westwood, New Jersey; Bridgehampton, on New York’s Long Island, and Miami. A handful of stores are located elsewhere.
A brand with a deep root in music, movies and car racing, Kmart cemented a place in American culture thanks to its Blue Light Specials and its early adoption of layaway programs, to support customers who lacked credit.