March 23, 2012

Spotlight Part 2 of 2: Sears to Kmart - Marietta, GA

Kmart is back!
After our January visit documenting the conversion process of this store going from a Sears to a Kmart and being featured in part one of our Spotlight here, we will now look at the finished product. Fast forward to March and the store is now a Kmart again. It has undergone quite a transformation and the end result is very impressive.

Kmart Now Open? When's the last time you saw a sign say that?
Pulling into the parking lot, first thing you'll notice is the big new Kmart logo on the front of the building. There are new signs on the cart corrals and the shopping center road signs. The stripes on the doors went from blue when it was Sears to the Kmart red. Just inside the doors is a small lobby with an area for the shopping carts on the right.

The new Kmart lobby.
As I stepped foot into the actual store, I let out an audible "Wow!" I was thinking "Did I really just step foot into a Kmart store?" As soon as you walk in, you are greeted with a big open space at the front of the store. The clothing department is directly in front of you and on the entire right side of the store. The store has a big, open 'racetrack' format around it. The racetrack is a lot more open and defined than most all other Kmart's. Just to the right of the entrance was the greeting cards. The jewelry department was in the middle of the clothing side of store. The back wall behind the clothing was the shoes department. Several of the departments in the store including the clothing department had carpeting, which is almost non-existent in Kmart stores.

Looking at the Women's clothing dept.
Jewelry department, right in the middle of the clothing store side.
 After passing the shoes along the back wall of the store was the appliances and electronics department. The electronics department honestly looked like it was one from a Sears store. There was even new display cases for the video games. Just past the electronics was the mattress department. Yes, this Kmart sells mattresses and has them on display.

Are we in Sears or Kmart's electronics? Yes we're really in Kmart's.
Kmart's mattress department, a first for me.
Just past mattresses was the layaway area and then the furniture department. Following that was housewares and then sporting goods. Along the left side wall of the store was hardware. automotive, toys, books, and then home office.

Sporting goods and luggage on the right.
Tools and automotive.
Books, magazines, and home office departments.
At the front left corner of the store you have the seasonal area, followed by the entrance to the inside garden center area. The inside garden shop featured lawn mowers and the typical garden shop fare, just merchandised a lot more nicely. The outside garden shop area was open and featured several gardening plants and flowers for sale.

Seasonal area, which is set up for the summer time.
Inside garden shop area, merchandised very nicely.
Outside garden center with plenty of spring plants.
Once past the garden shop entrance is the health and beauty department including the cosmetics. Very strangely the Pharmacy was no longer open. A sign was posted where the Pharmacy window used to be stating that the records had been moved to CVS. I didn't understand that at all because the Pharmacy was left open when the store was originally converted from Kmart to Sears. It was still open as of January when we visited the store as it was being converted from Sears to Kmart. I don't understand why they would close it now that the store is back to a Kmart, but that's Sears Holdings Corp for you.

Health and Beauty department.
Shuttered Pharmacy, don't understand why it was closed down.
As stated earlier when you walk into the store the Women's clothing is in front of you in the middle portion of the store. To the left of that is the domestics department including the sub-departments of curtains, home decor, bedding, bath, and small appliances.

Looking towards all the domestics departments.
Looking towards the other domestics departments.
Following the domestic department was the household cleaning products and the pet supplies. And finally following that was the Pantry department with all the food and drink products. It still featured the same sad looking milk coolers that all Kmart stores have for their refrigerated items.

Cleaning and home products, with pet supplies just past it.
Pantry food aisles.
Pantry aisles with the infamous milk coolers.
That pretty well covers the departments. The customer service desk and checkout registers were at the front of the store just to the left of the entrance. The register set-up is very unconventional. It was left the same from when it was Sears, as the register counters are blue for that reason. There are seven registers, but they are in an L shape. There is one central line for all the resisters. The customer service desk is directly to the left of the registers along the wall.

Just inside the entrance looking left towards customer service.
The unconventional register set-up.
Unlike most of the more recent Kmart remodels, this store doesn't feature the orange and brown color scheme but instead uses the traditional Kmart red for all the signage and walls. The red looks a lot better and goes with the Kmart stores more I think. This store also doesn't have an Internet Cafe that a lot of the remodeled Kmart's from the last few years have gotten. There is no restaurant or K Cafe type place at this store either. It has the same Kmart low ceilings and rows of florescent lights, but the store doesn't feel cramped or closed in. That's mainly because the aisle's aren't as high, the racetrack around the store is a lot wider and overall it's a lot more open feeling. It looks less like a Kmart inside and more like a small Target store. Everything is different about this store than most every other Kmart, so it's hard to even compare it to another Kmart.

Remodeled Kmart with an 1980's facade.
If Sears Holdings invested the money to remodel most of their Kmart stores to look like this one, it would be a very good start for them to getting business back. Next would be to lower their everyday prices, widen their selection of food products, and add a small restaurant up front. But at least this store is a start and a very good one at that. What do you think of the way this store looks? Could making all Kmart's look like this one help save the company? Leave your thoughts below and enjoy the rest of the pictures.

Just inside the front door.
Just inside the front door looking to the left.
Shoes on the right, accessories on the left.
Women's clothes with the wide racetrack running through it.
Appliance department, small one at that.
New video game cases in a Kmart!
Back wall of electronics.
Another shot of electronics.
Wide racetrack cutting between domestics and accessories.
Furniture department.
Hardware on the right, sporting goods on the left.
Toys on the right, pantry on the left, Easter in the middle.
Looking towards the front of the store.
Garden shop entrance.
Inside garden shop.
Another shot of the inside garden shop.
Around the side of the outside garden shop.
Pantry aisles.
Pantry, Pets, and Home cleaning aisles.
Cosmetics right next to health and beauty.
Front registers and the central checkout line.
Entrance/Exit doors. Not your typical Kmart doors.
Looking towards the inside garden shop.
Kmart road sign.


  1. Do any of the remodeled former Sears Essentials stores also look like this?

    Or is that wishful thinking?

  2. I am a bit disappointed. The facade is still from the Big Kmart era, there's no eatery, pharmacy's closed, the milk coolers, etc. (at least they had modern video game fixtures, I guess)

    Did the Kmart prior to the Sears have a K-Café? Where was it?

    I don't know, but it DOES look like a Sears, sort of. Maybe they should convert more Sears stores, even "normal" ones.

    Thanks for posting!

    1. I'm almost certain the former Kmart had a Cafe but I am not exactly sure of the location it was at in reference to the current layout.

  3. To answer the Anonymous person's question, all of Kmart's newest converted stores are like this. For some un-explainable reason none of the "newest" Kmart stores have Pharmacys in them. The post I did on the Kmart in Westlake, Ohio was like this as well. Also, I noticed that all appliance departments are being downsized drastically and Kmart is starting to carry mattresses. I think if Kmart wanted more shoppers they should do more with the exterior. All Kmart/Super Kmart stores near me are getting updates on the inside but little is done to the exterior; not even new exterior signage has been put up at the stores near me. The two converted Super Kmart stores in my area have lost tons of customers and one is closing (Medina, Ohio). The remaining Super Kmart stores seem to make the majority of their business in the grocery section. I know Kmart is in the process of expanding pantry sections by 15% (stocking around 650 new products), so far this has been completed in about 200 Kmart stores. Nice post!

  4. I bet Kmart made little to no money on the pharmacy items. This has to be the nicest looking INTERIOR of a Kmart ive ever seen. Really nice displays, not stacked up 20 feet high, everything is new, nicely laid out, clean lines, easy to see everything. Very impressive. Kmart needs to do this to ALL stores. I would of liked to see the front of the store (specifically the facade) updated, but, I cant complain overall.

  5. Nice... for a kmart! Not sure if it would meet Target muster yet (see the industrial looking lights and dinky milk coolers as an example) but definitely an improvement! (But then, almost anything would be...)

  6. Hopefully not stacking things to overstock doesn't mean less products. Lower shelves are great, but less SKUs? Don't go there.

    Still seems a little bland. I don't like Target's red EVERYWHERE in the store, but it would be nice to have a bit of color (Target and Wal-Mart really did master this in the mid-1990s, not so much now)

  7. I just wonder, how the hell did no worker see you take all these pictures!? lol. A few weeks ago I took like 4 pics inside a new jcpenney, and got harrassed by their loss prevention douche, askin me why I would be takin pics of "his" store, and that I would have to get permission, blah blah lol.

    1. You just have to be quick and nonchalant about it. The more obvious you are, the more people will notice. Also some companies have a lot more watchful loss prevention agents than others do, so that plays a factor in it. Not all people care that you are taking pictures, especially in this day and age of camera phones, etc.

  8. I wish they would remodel all of the Kmarts too look like this. I would LOVE for my store to get an overhaul. The fixtures in this store would be wonderful!

    1. This store looks very nice. Clean, bright and the new signs look great.

  9. Seriously? They couldn't replace (or at least paint) the ceiling tiles? Another "almost-but-not-quite" remodel by Kmart. I noticed the ceiling right away in the pictures and it looks horrible. There also seems to be a lot of "empty space" where there really shouldn't be. Not sure if I like the front register setup (and looks like they are still using the ancient beige IBM registers from the mid-90's). Definitely one of the best stores i have seen (the carpet looks good), but there is likely only a handful that will ever see a remodel this extensive.

    1. Nah, those are the later model IBM registers with touch screens they started using in the early part of the last decade. Given how many stores they've closed in the past (many which were using the newer registers), I doubt there's any left with the old IBM or Fujitsu registers (since they'd move the newer equipment to stores that didn't have them).

  10. Its funny Anonymous posted about the ceiling tiles. I was just about to write that. I've lost count as to how many Kmart's I've stepped in that were supposedly "renovated" yet they still have old ceiling tiles, floors, fixtures, etc. That has been a problem at Kmart for decades and its a primary reason that it has such a lousy image. The stores have always looked dingy and old even after they put up a few new signs, etc.

    I used to work for Target and worked in 2 stores that went under renovation. When Target renovates, they change everything. Pretty much all the flooring is changed, new fixtures, ceiling tiles, etc. There's exceptions like when the store is just getting a re-fresh. But even refreshes are pretty extensive and they pretty much at minimum re-fresh a store every 10 years or so. I don't think Kmart, even during their successful years, ever refreshed stores properly.

    The fact that Kmart still hasn't figured out how to do a good remodel/re-fresh is mind-boggling to me. This store is certainly an improvement but it looks like a Target out of the early 80's. With the old style directional signs. Cleaner, brighter, more open, that's all good. But if you won't change out dingy ceiling tiles or registers, then its not done right. It ruins the look. Those lights and A/C vents aren't helping although I doubt you can change that. And then there's the facade. It looks better than most but its still painfully outdated compared to the competition.

    All in all, this store is nice for a Kmart, but that just shows how much Kmart has slipped. Walking into a Kmart, even a renovated one, is like going into another era.

  11. It looks quite nice, nice fixtures, neat and clean but like others have said, you see the old Kmart peeking through with the old floor and ceiling tiles.

    Also the new exterior logo is okay but it's installed on an overhang with a Kmart style that dates from the 70's. They really need to get rid if this and make a truly modern store facade.

    1. The problem, of course..."modern store facade" = $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ which they don't wanna spend.

  12. If you think that late 70' early 80's facade looks bad, you should see the Kmart closest to me in Tampa FL. The facade is still the mid 60's one. The old red & green logo was removed and a Big Kmart sign put in its place. They didn't even bother to fill in the holes where the old sign was attached. It looks like its been shot at but its the old sign holes plus some rust. It looks awful and they do very little business. The inside looks okay, but with a frontage like that how many shoppers can you attract?

  13. They don't want to spend money, that's the problem.

    Around here nearly all Walmart stores have moved to new buildings or renovated and expanded the old ones. (And the old ones were build in the early 90's)!

    Unfortunately Kmart stores here have been built in the 70's and were cheaply renovated in the mid 90's and that's it.

  14. To bad this one will also close at the end of March 2014

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  16. The store still looks outdated even after the remodel. I will be shocked if Kmart is around after 2020. I hate shopping there, they are over priced, feel dirty and after Martha Stewart left, they literally have nothing going for them. Oh and did I mention their terrible customer service? Pretty much feel the same about Sears. They'll be joining the ranks of Ames, Hills and Caldor before you know it.