A now almost extinct retailer faces fears of filing for bankruptcy after another store closure.
K-Mart was once one of the most widely distributed chain stores in the United States.
According to Transformco, the outlet store company that owns K-Mart after purchasing Sears Holdings in 2019, the brand began its first operation as a K-Mart discount store in 1962 in Garden City, Michigan, about 17 miles west of Detroit, up.
After opening 17 additional locations that same year, the company reported sales of over $480 million.
K-Mart grew rapidly in the 1960s and continued to expand into the 1990s and early 2000s, becoming famous for its Blue Light sales.
In 1994, it quickly became the second-largest retailer in the U.S., with about 2,500 stores nationwide, according to Boston, Massachusetts-based WXKS.
Despite decades of expansion, the company filed for Chapter 11 in 2003 and restructured.
After that, K-Mart was never quite the same – the retailer’s store count fell significantly by 2023, and with the announcement of another closure by the end of September, the company is on the verge of extinction.
The famed discount retailer has reportedly filed a notice with the New Jersey Department of Labor that it will lay off all of its employees by Oct. 29 at its third-to-last U.S. location in Westwood, about 28 miles north of Newark.
The filing also noted that the store would officially close by Sept. 30, according to WXKS.
With the closure, only two K-Marts remain active in the United States.
Miami, Florida, has one and Binghamton, New York, has the other.
It’s unclear how long both locations will remain open given the impending closure of the New Jersey K-Mart, and it’s possible another bankruptcy filing is in the discount chain’s future.
With the two locations in the USA, a total of eight K-Marts remain in the world.
There are six others spread across Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Fans of the retailer will remember that K-Mart’s Blue Light Specials were an extremely popular marketing ploy during the store’s heyday.
A major sale would be announced to shoppers at any K-Mart location while a blue light flashed to indicate the limited-time opportunity, according to The Street.
Most of the time the sale only took a few minutes.
“Attention K-Mart Shoppers” was synonymous with other pop culture phenomena like Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” slogan.
The US Sun has reached out to Transformco for further comment on the K-Mart closures.
For more related content, check out the US Sun’s coverage of an iconic department store that suddenly closed a location after 50 years of operation.
The US Sun also reports on the story of the four stores that recently closed their doors for good as the so-called retail apocalypse continues.