Kmart Gets Back-to-School Jitters

Jul 31, 2002

Back-to-school marks the first potentially significant shopping milestone for
Kmart since it filed for bankruptcy. Yet, after six months of restructuring
efforts, monthly sales are still running behind last year’s numbers as consumers
continue to spend more money at Kmart’s competitors, reports the Detroit
Free Press.

This year, Kmart is hoping that better advertising and its newly launched Joe
Boxer line of products will draw enough shoppers. Kmart signed the Joe Boxer
deal last year specifically with young adults in mind. Television and print
ads are tying Joe Boxer with back-to-school shopping. This month, Kmart stores
began stocking a variety of Joe Boxer dorm necessities for college-bound shoppers.

The last few months of the year are crucial for Kmart and many other retailers.
Roughly one-third of Kmart’s annual revenue comes in the fourth quarter. “We
do more business at this time of the year than at the holidays,” says Michele
Jasukaitis, a Kmart spokeswoman. “Traditionally, people go into the store to
buy things in bulk, then their kids start school and see what their friends
are wearing and then they come back in and buy a few key items.”

Moderator Comment: What does Kmart need to do to set itself apart from other retailers selling school supplies and clothing? Will it be able to distinguish itself from the competition?

Having products/designs that can not be found at every
other retailer would be a great start. Unfortunately, the likelihood of this
happening is… well, let’s be honest, there is no likelihood that this will
happen. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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