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I Knew It Was Bad   14 comments

Posted at 11:05 pm in commentary


But it's worse than I thought!

Many of the shelves are bare, though, at the Kmart in Avenel, New Jersey, picked over by bargain hunters as the store prepares to close its doors for good April 16.

Once it shutters, the number of Kmarts in the US — once well over 2,000 — will be down to three last holdouts, according to multiple reports, in a retail world now dominated by Walmart, Target and Amazon.

But it wasn't inevitable:

“It’s a study in greed, avarice and incompetence,” Cohen said. “Sears should have never gone away; Kmart was in worse shape, but not fatally so. And now they’re both gone.

“Retailers fall by the wayside sometimes because they’re selling things people don’t want to buy,” he continued. “In the case of Kmart, everything they used to sell, people are buying, but they’re buying it from Walmart and Target.”


Kmarts continue to operate in Westwood, New Jersey; Bridgehampton, on New York’s Long Island, and Miami.

Written by ted on April 12th, 2022

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14 Responses to 'I Knew It Was Bad'

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  1. If you had told a 10 year-old me that one day I'd live in a city with no K-Mart, no J.C. Penny and no Sears, I would have assumed you were joking or full of s***. Now, here we are. Yeah, I am honestly shocked.

    While we're at it, anybody else think a dead pool for Belk might have some legs? Been in a couple of their locations lately and, to put it kindly, their stores aren't what they once were.

    Lone Wolf

    13 Apr 22 at 12:56 pm

  2. I for one hate to see Kmart decline like this...

    I grew up going to the Seven Oaks Shopping Center Kmart and that is where my folks and I got our prescriptions. I don't mind admitting that I miss it. Plus I'd get film developed there at one point.

    I would periodically make it to some of the others. As it got to where the 2 remaining stores were in West Columbia & Lexington I had needs that both those stores (mainly West Columbia) was my 'go to' for and some of them I am still trying to figure out what is best as far as fulfilling my needs going forward. I also felt nostalgic to a degree walking through them because of my memories shopping there.

    I have enjoyed the Kmart jingle that can be found at (from 1984).


    13 Apr 22 at 1:19 pm

  3. When I think of Kmart I am reminded of the in-store music that was uploaded online a few years ago. Some songs like this leave me curious as to how it was selected and ended up on the tapes.


    13 Apr 22 at 4:53 pm

  4. I have discovered this blog listing the former Kmart locations around our country...

    Between 1963 and 1986 the Columbia area got a total of 6 Kmart locations that closed between 2009 and 2019.


    15 Apr 22 at 5:10 pm

  5. Belk is definitely not what they were, if the one inside Richland Mall is any indication.


    16 Apr 22 at 4:30 am

  6. Kmart was taken over by Walmart, and that's why it failed. They couldn't or wouldn't keep up with what was going on in retail, so Walmart won that one. Belk's started to fail here in Columbia after the Sr. Mr. Belk retired and his son Bill took over the Columbia stores...he was an ass-hole from the get go. He had no clue as to how to run a business. He fired people every week he'd come to Columbia. I think the Belk Family sold out to whoever it was and it really went down fast. Belk's is a thing of the past...just like Kmart, Tons of Toys, Toys R Us, Sears and others that were popular from the 1950's through the mid 80's. Walmart ruined it for a lot of places.


    16 Apr 22 at 3:16 pm

  7. I think too that Walmart will eventually fail as all large retail stores do. But then again...they may not. I don't buy from Walmart because everything is made in China, and I don't support that. Other stores that are "gone with the wind" are Zayer, Sears, Sam Soloman, Kmart, Woolco, Woolworth, JC Penney, Record Bar, Brendle's and others I can't remember I'm sure.


    16 Apr 22 at 3:23 pm

  8. I think too that Walmart will eventually fail as all large retail stores do. But then again...they may not. I don't buy from Walmart because everything is made in China, and I don't support that. Other stores that are "gone with the wind" are Zayer, Sears, Sam Soloman, Kmart, Woolco, Woolworth, JC Penney, Record Bar, Brendle's, Toys R Us, Tons O Toys and others I can't remember I'm sure.


    16 Apr 22 at 3:25 pm

  9. I saw one figure that JC Penney is still ticking with about 650 locations nationwide (to include Columbia locations at Columbiana Centre (which is one of about 15-20 that opened nationwide on October 6, 2006 as I recall) and a Village at Sandhill store that opened in the fall of 2005 as that 300 acre facility was taking shape.

    Some other retailers (to supplement Db's list) that I've seen go extinct in recent years:

    AC Moore Arts & Crafts
    JB White
    Phar Mor
    Service Merchandise
    Parisian (merged into Belk)
    Circuit City
    Pier 1 Imports
    Comp USA
    Eckerd (merged into Rite Aid)
    Revco (merged into CVS in 1997)
    Hancock Fabrics
    Piece Goods Shop
    Payless Shoe Source

    Some of these have managed to continue to have an online presence in a (dot)com version...

    Walmart's push to use self-checkout is what has lead me to quit shopping a vibe that they've given off that hasn't been the greatest.

    I should also note (As I have before) that the closure of the Dutch Square Kmart in 2009 is what lead me to discover this site...


    16 Apr 22 at 7:27 pm

  10. I have mixed feelings about self-checkout machines, because I've been a supervisor at two stores that had them.

    Sometimes, self-checkout allows you to give more work hours to the good, dependable cashiers, who care about doing their job correctly. Without self-checkout, more of the careless, worse cashiers have to be there. And upper management won't fire them because so-and-so is available at 7 AM can work until 11 PM any isn't great, but we can't spare someone from Produce/Meat/Deli/Bakery to be a cashier half the time. Even if a mediocre employee does get fired, the choice of applicants is not always much better.

    However, I am annoyed that prices don't generally seem to be lower, in order to make up for the customers doing the cashiers' job. And it's not fair to have just one or two cashiers while there are six, eight, ten self-checkout machines.


    17 Apr 22 at 3:18 pm

  11. I like the self checkout machines as long as I have 10 items or less and the other patrons have 10 items or less. Lowes Foods in Sandhills and Food Lion on Hardscrabble are becoming like Walmart in the way they will have 4 self checkouts open and only 1 cashier. So either you get stuck behind 2 or 3 customers with a cart full of groceries in the 1 line with the cashier or you get stuck behind 5 or 6 in the self checkout lanes. I have, on several occasions gone up to customer service with my less than 5 items and ask them to ring me up. Food Lion at some times will not have a cashier at all. Self checkout lanes (in grocery stores with only 4 checkouts) should be 10 items or less.


    19 Apr 22 at 11:46 am

  12. Does anyone remember the GEX store?


    16 May 22 at 10:16 pm

  13. @KC, some people remember G-E-X here.


    16 May 22 at 10:45 pm

  14. Since this writeup the Westwood, New Jersey Kmart (one of the last 3 standing) has closed up that as it may I think Miami's has downsized and the one on Long Island is still going (for now)...


    22 Apr 24 at 9:52 pm

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