Kmart Closing Up Shop? Not So Fast; Unveils New ‘Awesome Store’

Though more Kmart store closings are reported to happen in the near future, the chain isn’t going down without a fight. While in process of shutting various Kmart store locations, one “new” one (or re-vamped location) quietly opened up in August with a “whole lotta awesome.” This isn’t to say that the “grand re-opening” wasn’t a big deal (it was and huge crowds turn out for the occasion) but most of the country did not learn of this news until recently.

The new store, located in Des Plaines, Ill. near the company’s headquarters, is a “rare attempt to update the chain’s brick-and-mortar presence as the company rethinks the strategy,” says Fierce Retail.

“In an effort to evolve the Kmart brand to better serve our members, we will continue these efforts to test and learn at our stores,” said Kelly Cook, Kmart’s chief marketing officer, in a statement. “Our goal is to deliver the best value, price, product and experience, and in doing so, we believe our members will keep coming back for more of A Whole Lotta Awesome!”

Just this past week, The Inquisitr reported that the third-largest store chain in America would close another 64 stores across 28 states by the end of December. This announcement was in addition to the 68 Kmart stores that began shutting their doors in April of this year.

Re-Grand Opening of Revitalized Kmart Store on August 27, 2016 in Des Plaines, Illinois. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Kmart)

Undaunted by the impending bad news, Kmart is pulling out all of the stops to turn the K ship around pronto. The new “awesome” store is quite the departure for the chain and features the following:

  • “Happy to Help” Center: The store’s customer service department’s focus has been changed to accommodate the needs of all their customers, including little ones that carry no cash. A new kid’s shop has been set up where children can redeem their parents’ “Shop Your Way” points to purchase toys, candy, and other items for free. This may not excite the adults, but it is bound to be a hit with their kids and might have a “Happy Meal” effect where kids will actually be asking mom and dad to take them to Kmart.
  • New Brand Guarantee: Every “Shop Your Way” member is guaranteed to find a minimum of $100 worth of coupons in their app every day.
  • Shoparazzi: A personal concierge service that will do the shopping for the customers at no extra cost with an extra catch – if Kmart doesn’t carry the product that the customer wants, they will be find it at another store for that customer.
  • Super 6 Shop: Features six “outrageously priced” items.
  • Fresh or It’s Free: Improved grocery section with local fresh produce that comes with a guarantee for freshness.
  • New Beauty Bar: Features new “experts” to help advice for hair and skincare products.
  • Aisle of WOW: Similar to Targets’ Bulls-Eye Playground, the section features “Real Deals” and “Dollarpalooza” items every day.
  • Upgraded Pharmacy: Features new health and wellness “experts.”
  • Upgraded Kmart Brand Apparel Shops
  • Sweet Candy Section: Showcases local Chicago candy brands
  • Upgraded Pet Care Section: Premium dog and cat food brands and products
  • Full-service Paint Shop: Features over 1,500 paint colors.
  • The store itself also received a Kmart upgrade with new signage and wider aisles.
Re-Grand Opening of Revitalized Kmart Store on August 27, 2016 in Des Plaines, Illinois. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images)

While the new changes sound solid and long overdue, are they coming just too late to keep the Kmart name going?

“There are those who wonder why Sears is even attempting to create new retail programs as it continues to close stores,” says Laura Heller from Forbes. “The value in the company is in the real estate they say, including ratings agency Moody’s, which doesn’t believe the company can continue for much longer with such a high debt burden.”

If there was a time a truly worthwhile Blue Light Special, it would seem to be now.

[Image by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images]