We went to a Kmart store and saw why the company is in danger of shutting down

We visited a Kmart store in midtown Manhattan.

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We visited a Kmart store in midtown Manhattan.
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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

  • Kmart is owned by Sears Holdings, one of the 15 retailers named by S&P Global Market Intelligence as most likely to go bankrupt in 2018.
  • 166 Kmart and Sears stores are expected to close by the end of April, in addition to the nearly 400 that closed in 2017.
  • We visited a Kmart store in New York City to see what the store looks like while its parent company is saddled with debt and preparing for more closures.

Kmart is struggling.

Its parent company, Sears Holdings, has plans to close 166 Kmart and Sears stores by the end of April, in addition to the nearly 400 stores it closed in 2017.

In December, analysts speculated that Kmart could be in danger of shutting down entirely. Kmart faces intense competition from other discount chains and Walmart, and Sears Holdings has closed Kmart stores at a more rapid rate than its namesake stores.

We visited a Kmart store in midtown Manhattan to see what it looked like, and while there was a lot in stock, the store was disorganized and messy. This is what it was like:


I went to the Kmart store in Penn Station in Manhattan.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The store had massive Easter displays everywhere, including in the entryway.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Also up front there were pieces of fruit, batteries, phone chargers, candy, drinks, and a lot of other random small items.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The first floor of the store was reminiscent of a CVS or Rite Aid. It had every drugstore makeup and hair-care brand, and the prices were about the same.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Almost all of the merchandise on the first floor was on sale. Some items were as much as 50% or 60% off.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Overall, it was pretty messy in this area, with merchandise lining the floors.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

As I continued through the front of the store, I was greeted with more Easter merchandise, candy, gum, snacks, and other things typical of a drugstore.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Shelves were messy with random items throughout the store …

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… and this is how the $3 glasses were organized.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

This recycling unit was hidden in a random corner, between the perfume and party supplies. The store was disorganized and difficult to navigate.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

I eventually found my way to the toy aisles, which took up about a third of the floor. It was clean and well-stocked, for the most part …

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… but a lot of shelves were stained and empty.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Here’s another spot that looked empty.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Near the toys was a small grocery section …

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… a gardening aisle …

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… and a home-improvement aisle, with a few abandoned shopping carts that had been left behind.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The home-improvement section continued on the second floor. There were some glaring issues.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Some of the merchandise here was damaged.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The second floor, which was also where I found the children’s clothes and shoes, definitely had more empty shelves than the first floor.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

A huge, outdated DVD section took up most of the electronics department …

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… and this gross bucket was just sitting in the aisle. The floors all around were chipped and stained.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

I made my way back through the maze that was the second floor and went to the third floor. There was a huge NYC-themed memorabilia section. While some of it was well-stocked and organized, other shelves looked like this.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Aside from the tourist memorabilia, the entire floor was women’s clothes and shoes. Almost everything was on sale, and few things cost more than $25.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There was also a big sports-apparel section, and everything was 25% off.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Women’s shoes were also on sale …

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… with some items costing as little as $4 or $5.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The registers on the third floor had a similar setup to the first floor, selling smaller merchandise and snacks. The store sold just about everything, but it was confusing to navigate and often dirty. There were a lot of empty shelves and messes all over the store.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler