Supermarket News


TROY, Mich. -- Super Kmart Centers are about to emerge from a self- imposed hibernation. After several years of static store growth while Kmart Corp. here addressed more pressing corporate issues, the company is about to become more aggressive in rolling out its supercenter format, Laurence L. Anderson, president of the Super Kmart division, told SN.

"The Super K's have always operated successfully," he said. "They turned profitable in 1996, improved profits dramatically in 1997 and have continued to do well this year. The problem was that the parent company simply ran out of money. "But now that Kmart's finances have improved with the rollout of the Big K format, the company has enough cash to accelerate the growth of supercenters, and we're planning to hit the growth cycle again." According to Anderson, Kmart's plans for Super Kmart Centers include the following:

* Opening 12 supercenters next year, with plans for 25 locations a year in subsequent years.

* Introducing a new 140,000-square-foot prototype at two stores this month.

* Developing a 110,000- to 115,000-square-foot prototype that will be tested in 1999 and, if it proves successful, converting hundreds of urban-based Kmart stores to supercenters.

* Switching to self-distribution once it can achieve critical mass in some marketing areas. Kmart opened its first supercenter in Medina, Ohio, in July 1991. It opened its 100th store last week in Virginia Beach, Va. -- its first prototype of 140,000 square feet -- with another new-prototype store due to open Wednesday in Detroit, and a more traditional 180,000-square-foot unit also scheduled to open Wednesday, in Southgate, Mich., a Detroit suburb.

"We're very excited about the new size," Anderson told SN, "because 140,000 square feet is the prototype of choice going forward. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.