Ever since Sebastion S. Kresge opened the first kmart on March 1, 1962 in Garden City, Michigan; kmart has become a popular discount franchise with hundreds of stores across the nation. Kmart has gone through bankruptcy and joined with other companies along the way, but the store still remains in business with a loyal customer basis. Kmart, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation, operated a total of 1,307 Kmart stores across 49 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U. S. Virgin Islands as of January 29th, 2011.
Nine hundred and eighty-one of these kmart stores operate in-store pharmacies, and twenty have Sears Auto Centers operating within them which include professional automotive repair and maintenance services. Another popular offering from kmart stores is their layaway program, which has continuously expanded over the years. Though kmart is not now as popular as it once was, corporate headquarters have made sure that everyone knows that kmart is still around. To this day, kmart is still the leading print promotional retailer,with weekly circulars reaching millions of households each week.
Kmart has grown, prospered, and somewhat fallen, but to this day kmart still stands the third largest discount store chain in the world. Sebastian Spering Kresge opened a small five and dime store in 1899, this was the basis of todays kmart corportation. In this store, everything was sold for 5 or 10 cents. A few years later Kresege opened an aditional chain of stores with prices of one dollar or cheaper. With the philosphy of giving the customers what they need for affordable prices, Kresege was able to expand his customer basis as well as expand his company.
In 1937, Kresege opened a store in the country’s first suburban shopping center – Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. Along with the substantioal amount of advertising that S. S. Kresege Corporation produced, the company knew that they needed to change to stay on top of the competitive retail business. Harry B. Cunningham, who became Kresge President in 1959, made adjustments and changes to the Kresege Corportation by studying other retail store strategies. Under Cunningham’s leadership, the first kmart store was opened on March 1, 1962 in Garden City, Michigan.
Cunningham did a decent job as presedent of S. S. Kresege company, for in 1966, sales in 162 Kmart stores and 753 Kresge stores topped the $1 billion mark. In 1976, S. S. Kresge made history by opening 271 Kmart stores in one year, becoming the first-ever retailer to launch 17 million square feet of sales space in a single year. Most of S. S. Kresege Company sales were generated by kmart stores, so in 1977 S. S. Kresege Company officially changed it’s name to Kmart Corporation. Ten years later, Kmart sold the remaining Kresge stores to fully concentrate on discount merchandising.
Over the next few years kmart corporation made changes to improve customer satisfaction and increase the number of shoppers. In 1996 kmart was compleatly redesigned to make them cleaner, brighter, and easier to shop. Focus was placed on Childrens and Home Fashion departments, as well as a “Pantry” department, which sold frequently purchased consumable goods. These “big” changes were signified by a new name for the remodeled stores – ”Big Kmart. ” To further expand the reach of the company, in December 1999 Kmart launched a new Internet website, BlueLight. om. By initially offering free Internet service, BlueLight was able to register a record-breaking number of users in its first few months. Shoppers now know the e-commerce and information site as www. kmart. com. On January 22, 2002, Kmart filed for Chapter 11[-;0] bankruptc[-;1]y protection under the leadership of its then-chairman Chuck Conaway and president Mark Schwartz. Afterwards, these leaders were asked to step down after accusations of lying about the Company’s financila crisis. Under the leadership of President Julian C.
Day, who was promoted to Chief Executive Officer in January 2003, the Company achieved several important objectives during its fast-track reorganization. The Company’s accomplishments included strengthening its balance sheet and significantly reducing debt; securing $2 billion in exit financing; focusing its store portfolio on the most productive locations and terminating leases for closed stores; and developing a more disciplined, efficient organization and lowering its overall operating costs. On November 17, 2004, Kmart announced its intention to purchase Sears, Roebuck and Company[-;2].
As a part of the merger, the Kmart Holdings Corporation would change its name to Sears Holdings Corporation. The new corporation announced that it would continue to operate stores under both the Sears and Kmart brands. Around this time, Kmart changed its logo from a red K with the script “mart” inside to a red block letter K with the chain’s name in lowercase letters below it. Most Kmart stores now use this logo on their signage, with some only using the red K and the word “mart” due to space concerns.
In 2005, the company began renovating some Kmart stores and converting them to the Sears Essentials format, only to change them later to Sears Grands Kmart currently employs more than 280,000 associates, very different from the staff of 18 first employed at Kresge’s five-and dime. Kmart intends to continuously improve on quality, price, and customer satisfaction through its years. Today, Louis J. D’Ambrosio is Sears Holding Corporations’ chief executive officer and president, followed by Edward S. Lampert, the chairman.
Sears Holding Corporation headquarters is located in Hoffman Estates, Illinois; a northwestern suburb of Chicago. Some of Sears Holding Corportations’ subsidiaries in addition to kmart include; Sears, Roebuck and Co. Sears Canada Inc. and Sears Roebuck of Mexico. Kmart compeats with other retail businesses such as Target and Walmart. In order to keep up with such companies, kmart must remain efficient in production to reduce costs when needed. Coupons and bulk discounts are another way that kmart attracts its customers. [->0] – /wiki/Chapter_11 [->1] – /wiki/Bankruptcy [->2] – /wiki/Sears,_Roebuck_and_Company