Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Charlotte's last Kmart store closing

The Kmart on Freedom Drive - Charlotte's last - is closing in the coming weeks, and the store is holding a going-out-of-business sale.

An employee at the store said a final date for the store hasn't been set. That will depend on how long it takes to sell out the remaining merchandise.

The Freedom Drive store is the final Kmart in Charlotte city limits. Remaining locations include Kmarts in Pineville, Gastonia, Rock Hill, Concord and Monroe.

Photo credit: Mike Kalasnik of
The closure comes amid continuing dismal results from Kmart and its parent company, Sears. In early January, the company warned investors to expect a big loss for its fiscal year ending Feb. 1.

The retailer said it will report a full-year loss of at least $1.3 billion, worse than last year's $930 million loss. Sales were down 3.7 percent year-to-date at Kmart, and 3.9 percent company-wide.

"We continue to reduce unprofitable stores as leases expire and in some cases accelerate closings when circumstances dictate," the company wrote.

Kmart and Sears are closing stores around the country. According to news reports this month, Kmart is closing stores near Dayton, Ohio; Orlando, Florida; Montgomery, Illinois; Fergus Falls, MinnesotaMount Pleasant, S.C. and three in Wisconsin. And that's just the first page of news results on Google.

The Shelby Star also reports that a Sears store in Shelby is closing in April.

So what do you think: Do Kmart and Sears have a future? Do you still shop there? If not, why? What could bring you back?


Mark said...

Kmart stores are nasty. Shelves are disheveled. The Atmosphere is dreary. The last store I was in had half of the lights turned off to save money. They are History. Sears should go micro stores and online. Kenmore products are the only draw in my opinion. Although much of their online stuff is way overpriced, some pricing is ok.

Curmudgeon said...

Back in the day, Sears was the modern equivalent of the "company store". It gave me my first credit card, and as a young newlywed it was my source for nearly everything I needed. Tools, clothes, appliances, name it, and chances are I bought it at Sears. The downtown and Southpark Sears were constant destinations for me.
Then, as competition grew, they did something inexplainable to me - they started closing stores. With no stores in proximity to me anymore I started shopping elsewhere. I hoped there'd be a Sears at Northlake. No such luck. Now you have about two choice: Pineville or Concord. Not much of a choice.
So, I hate to see Sears fading into irrelevancy, but I think the holding company that bought Sears and Kmart has made one bad decision after another and consumers are the poorer for it.

WashuOtaku said...

The Hedge Fund that is running the show at Sears/Kmart is driving it to the ground. It is in a slow death spiral as they sell-off and milk the company all its worth till nothing is left but the husk. Ten years from now we will look back at what was once a great American company, like Woolworths and Montgomery Wards.

telamon said...

Places like Lowe's, Target, and Walmart left Sears/Kmart in the dust as far as their distribution and service models. The quality has been declining for decades. Sears lost us as customers back in 1990 when in the span of a couple months, my wife bought a dress that came apart at the seams and I ordered a tent that ripped in the corner the first time we used it.

Fast foreward a few decades and I gave them another shot last year when I was looking for a dryer belt since there was a retail outlet in our little town. Not in stock, but they could order it and it would be there in 2 weeks(!). Another lady behind the counter overheard and recommended going to a competitor appliance store in town. They had the belt in stock. So even the employees know the place is going down the tubes.

I have great memories of fighting with my brothers and sister over the Christmas catalog to make our wish list. And coming of age as a teenager at the store in Eastland, stocking up my first Craftsman toolbox. I even bought my first stereo system there, and still use the 4-way speakers to this day. But that era of quality is long gone.

MW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MW said...

There's something to be said for atmosphere, and while Kmart was never known for that, my childhood was basically spent there, so I have nostalgia for that.

I loved Freedom Drive back then - a Big Lots, a Shiny Imports AND a Goodwill and Kmart on the same street? Heaven for poor folks like me. As those things went to the wayside, I still longed for them, and still go to Kmart in Gastonia to this day.

Walmarts are overcrowded, and Kmart has the same items (mostly), so it's a nice reprieve. And it's just a plus that you get a built in Little Caesars too.

I'll miss this Kmart, thanks for the memories, and the hilarious "garden section".

whatelks67 said...

I live in Pineville, and avoid both Kmart and Sears. Both need the business very badly, and yet they price their merchandise like they don't want anyone to buy it. Neither store has any employees that make an effort to help any customers, or at least give them the idea that they are welcome in the stores. The stores are generally haphazard and you can't find anything, and there isn't anyone to help you, either. There is usually only one check out lane open, so IF you do find something you want to buy, you will wait extra time to buy it, because even though there aren't many people in there buying, there is usually a error in pricing between what the item is marked at, and what rings up, so they have to do a price check which relies on them getting on the phone and calling to get someone in that dept. to go look and get a price, which there generally isn't anyone IN that dept. to go look for the right price. So, it's a huge issue from the second you step foot into the store.

James Edgar said...

Growing up in the '70s-'80s, the top 3 retailers were Sears, Kmart and JC Penny. Going to Sears was an event. We looked forward to going there for back-to-school clothes, and the location we went to most had the Carmel Corn and ICEE stands.

When I moved here in '88 to go to UNCC, the Eastland Sears was the first thing I looked for. They gave me my first credit card too, and after college I bought most of my furniture there.

But they refused to adapt as Wal-Mart changed the game, and of course the neighborhood around that mall went down the tubes. The last time I was in there, I was suprised to find Wal-Mart quality merchandise at Nordstrom prices. No reason to pay $50 for a golf shirt at Sears when I can get the exact same thing at Wal-Mart for $20.

The day is coming soon when Sears and Kmart will no longer exist. And it's a shame.

Andrew Fernandez said...

the freedom drive charlotte went down in years. it one time had an a&p and a piggly wiggly. that space had been shut down for years when compare food recently took over.

Leslie Lim said...

First time I commented in a blog! I really enjoy it. You have an awesome post. Please do more articles like this. I'm gonna come back surely. God bless.