Inside Kmart’s new concept store

Date : 26 September 2016

We visited Kmart’s new concept store in the Chicago area to see how it’s bringing its ‘A Whole Lotta Awesome’ strategy to life.

New concept reflects business transformation

While Kmart may have dominated the headlines earlier this month following the announcement of a second tranche of store closures, bringing the total number of stores closing to 144 for the year, it continues to press ahead with its turnaround plan. Led by President and Chief Member Officer, Alasdair James, who previously served as commercial director within Tesco’s global business unit, the business has been focusing on crafting its transformation. Reflecting the retailer’s ongoing strategic marketing and rebranding initiatives, which are designed to appeal to its core customer and attract a new Millennial audience, Kmart debuted its new store concept last month.

Source: IGD Research

Launched under the ‘A Whole Lotta Awesome’ strapline, the revitalised store aims to provide a new store experience and expanded product offer, particularly in terms of fresh foods. The store features a number of new initiatives. These include:

Source: IGD Research

  • New look and feel – including new signage and wider aisles designed to improve navigation and make it easier for shoppers to find products.

Source: IGD Research

  • ’Shoparazzi’ – a free personal concierge service that when provided a member’s list, will do the shopping on their behalf, and if the store does carry the product, they will find it at another store and have it ready at the checkout.

Source: IGD Research

  • ’Super 6’ shop – offering six low priced fresh items, highlighting it expanded fresh food offer and the retailer’s ‘It’s fresh or it’s free product guarantee.’

Source: IGD Research

  • ’Aisle of WOW!’ – a special section of the store dedicated to low-priced items, including ‘Dollarpalooza’ which offers a wide range of products, all priced at $1.

Source: IGD Research

In addition, the store features an upgraded pharmacy, staffed with a wellness consultant to provide health advice and product recommendations, and an expanded pet care centre, offering premium dog and cat food brands. New brands have also been introduced within non-food, along with improved category signage and customer information.

Trading environment will remain highly competitive

This store offers shoppers a significantly improved shopping experience and one where value is very clearly called out. New high level and category signage both aids shopper navigation, and creates a more attractive shopping environment. The new fresh food ranges and $1 items are likely to be popular with shoppers. The key challenge for the retailer is that this is one store out of a portfolio of over 800, and while it, and its parent group chain, Sears, continue to face trading challenges, the available investment to upgrade a larger group of stores may be restricted.

However, it is a step in the right direction, but with momentum growing at Walmart, as it invests in pricing and the store experience, and Target vowing to push harder on price to match the focus it has placed on improving its style credentials, the competitive environment is only likely to intensify.

Stewart Samuel, Program Director, IGD Canada
Based in Canada, Stewart heads up all of IGD's research and coverage on the region. He is also responsible for shaping IGD's research program across North America. Contact Stewart at [email protected] for further insight on the region's trends, channels and retailers.

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