Introduction in development and strategic management – MBA ENG
Kmart and Sears: still stuck in the middle?
Kmart Company History
Kmart had been established in 1962 by its parent company S.S. Kresge as a discount department store offering the most variety of goods at the lowest prices. Un- like Sears, the company chose not to locate in large shopping malls but to establish its discount stores in highly visible corner locations. During the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, Kmart prospered. Retail formats in operation
Kmart – is a chain of discount stores that are usually free standing or located in a strip malls. Big Kmart – signals a different kind of Kmart. These stores are bigger, brighter and offer big savings, big value, big selection and big convenience. Big Kmart stores are designed to increase store sales by increasing the frequency of customer visits. The format focuses on three distinct businesses – home fashions, children’s apparel and consumables – and features an expanded food area known as the “Pantry”. Kmart Super Center - is a chain of hypermarkets that carry everything a regular Kmart carries, but also have a full grocery section with meat and poultry, baked goods, a delicatessen, garden produce, and fresh seafood. Most Kmart Super Centers operate 24-hours a day and offer special services. In 1999 Kmart began offering a dial-up internet service called BlueLight, which was eventually spun off as an independent company. BlueLight was initially free and supported by banner ads. BlueLight dropped the free service in February 2001 and was reacquired by Kmart in July 2001. In 2002 United Online, which also owns NetZero and Juno, bought the BlueLight service after Kmart filed for bankruptcy. In August 2006, Bluelight dropped the banners. As of August 2006, the service costs $14.95 a month and has around 165,000 subscribers. Promotional Pricing model
Promotional pricing had always been the forte at Kmart. Offering a lower price temporarily in order to enhance the effectiveness of product sales efforts to cost sensitive consumer. In 1990, Wal-Mart overtook Kmart in sales, they tried to wean the company away from this strategy. Kmart cut process on 38,000 items and promoted the with expensive television commercials, which failed to lure younger shoppers. Then Wal-Mart countered by using its greater efficiency and economies of scale to fight back on pricing. The outcome was 1% drop in Kmart’s sales in December and 8% increase in those of Wal-Mart. Financial Analysis
Prior to 2001, company was making continues losses, in order to understand scenario; we first analyze the period from 1995 to 1998. Here, Kmart started making some profit. And the second part from the year 1998 to 2002, where they actually went bankrupts. In 1995, the firm suffered a huge loss of $571 million. This was because of the non-performance of 127 international stores. It was in the same year that COGS as a percentage of sales were too high as 78%. Operating expenses as a percentage was in proportion to that of the industry. However due to the low performance of the international stores, stores outside t United States, Kmart had a bad financial year in 1995.
It was the same year that the management decided to do away with the non preforming stores and thereby closed all its international stores and started four new stores in the home market. The list of stores by Kmart during the period can be seen as under:
In 1999, COGS was 78% of sales as compared to 72 % of sales in the year 1998. Also, COGS increased drastically compared to increase in sales. Sales in 1999 increased by 6.26%, however COGS increased by 12.23%. Thus, there was a major decrease in the grow profit from 27% of sales to 21% of sales. This was the beginning of...
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