Customers Pleasantly Surprised at New Kmart
By George Anderson
|Kmart is testing the sale of Craftsman tools in nine stores around the country.|
Former Kmart employee and current Kmart shopper Brian Linke summed it up. “Kmart has really come up,” he said. “This store is the nicest looking Kmart in a long time. It’s a
lot cleaner. There’s more variety and it’s very comfortable — a lot more open and customer friendly.”
Mr. Linke is not alone in his assessment of the “new” Kmart in Troy, Mich., according to executives with the retailer.
Julie Younglove-Webb, vice president of space planning at Kmart who is responsible for store renovations said, “Sales have been strong so far. We are really surprising customers with the products.”
The products include Kmart mainstays such as Martha Stewart Everyday and Joe Boxer as well as new additions from Sears including Craftsman tools and some Kenmore appliances.
The Kmart in Troy is one of nine nationally currently testing Sears’ products in its stores. Other “new” Kmarts are located in Boca Raton, Fla., White Plains, N.Y., Bohemia, N.Y., Silver Spring, Md., and Burbank, Calif.
Sears’ brands, however, are not the only thing new to this Kmart.
The interior design of the store has been made more colorful and less cluttered with more visual displays of product including the use of mannequins modeling clothes.
According to The Detroit News, Kmart’s new look is “more like specialty retailers like the Gap or Marshall Field’s.”
The changes are just what Kmart needs, according to retail analyst Gary Ruffing, “Kmart has been shooting a smaller gun with less ammunition than Wal-Mart and Target while expecting to hit more customers,” he said. “Now they can play a more offensive position with these brands and it should help draw new customers to stores – a whole new strategy.”
Moderator’s Comment: Is Kmart on the right track with the store and product changes it is making? What else will it need to do if it intends to be a
power retailer feared by the competition? –
George Anderson – Moderator