One of my most popular posts on this site was from back in July 2009. It was a spotlight on Georgia's last Super Kmart Center and the subsequent removal of the "Super" part of the store. Fast forward to March 2011 and we are getting closer to talking about the Nations last Super Kmart Center. Super Kmart Centers are becoming an increasingly dying breed and it's unclear how many Super Kmart Centers are now left in the US. Kmart has removed the Super Kmart Center part of their website and thus the store locator for Super Kmart Centers. As of last count, there were just over 30 left but now that number is less because of the recent de-supering of several locations. And by de-supering, I mean the increasingly frequent practice of Kmart completely removing the grocery sections and changing them to Big Kmart's, which are no longer open 24 hours as the Super Kmart Centers were. This was the fate of the Rome, GA location I visited and reported on. Locations that aren't worth changing to Big Kmarts are closed all together, which happened quite a bit in the earlier 2000's during Kmart's bankruptcy stage.
You can pretty much put the final nail in the coffin of Super Kmart Centers. It's an unfortunate but true fact as the number of Super Kmart Centers dwindle down closer to zero with the closure or de-supering of most locations. Sears Holdings has all but given up on the concept, realizing that it's too little, too late now to try to expand it further to compete with Walmart Supercenters.
I am for one disappointed that they didn't try to maintain and expand the concept in the late 90s/early 00s, before Walmart got a stronger hold than it already had on the grocery market. Instead, during their bankruptcy of 2002, they closed several of the Super Kmart Center locations. Then in 2003 when Eddie Lampert started his rein of the company, you could all but forget any hope of progress for Super Kmart Centers.
Ever since Lampert has taken control of Kmart and then subsequently Sears any chances of progress for the company has died before it even started. Lampert runs the company to get profits for his hedge fund, instead of worrying about increasing sales or making improvements to the stores. Most people can tell this from the 90s and even 80s time warp they get when stepping into most Kmart stores. A lot of us love the nostalgic feeling we get when going into Kmart's but no matter how much we love it, it's bad for business.
Sears Holdings idea of progress is their never ending testing of different concepts, only for them to be abandoned or die a slow death. I recently did an article on mygofer, one of Sears Holdings most recent concepts that they have been focusing on. To give you a short summary, I'm not that impressed.
I hate to be critical about Kmart and Sears Holdings so much lately, but there really isn't much they've done recently to be positive or happy about. Here's hoping that Sears Holdings can do something to make Kmart a tour de force in the retail world again. Until then Kmart's outlook is looking as bleak as these pictures.
Special thanks to Kate Bingaman-Burt of Obsessiveconsumption.com
. She captured these awesome photos after her local Super Kmart Center went out of business. She wrote an interesting article about that location to go with these photos, it can be read on Core77.com
. These photos are sole property of Kate Bingaman-Burt.