Kmart recently started printing a new slogan on its plastic shopping bags.
It reads: “Life is ridiculously AWESOME.”
The cheerful slogan — printed in large, red letters against the plain white background of the bags — is likely meant to appeal to millennial shoppers.
But ironically, it stands in stark contrast to the reality facing Kmart’s dying business, as The New Yorker’s Vinson Cunningham reports.
Kmart’s same-store sales, or sales open at stores at least a year, fell 5.3% last year. Those declines picked up pace at the beginning of this year, with same-store sales falling 11.2% in the most recent quarter.
Over the last five years, the company has closed hundreds of stores, and now has fewer than 624 stores, down from 1,221 locations in 2012.
With the store closures, tens of thousands of employees have lost their jobs, and the company’s annual sales have been slashed from $US14.6 billion in 2012 to $US10.2 billion in 2016.
Kmart’s parent company, Sears Holdings, is trying to turn business around at Kmart and Sears stores with massive spending cuts, more store closures, and, as evidenced by the plastic bags, new slogans.
It remains to be seen if the efforts will resurrect the business, which has been in decline for years. Wall Street analysts are sceptical that a turnaround is possible, and many are predicting the company will declare bankruptcy within the next two years.
It doesn’t help matters that the retail industry is undergoing massive upheaval, with companies declaring bankruptcy and closing stores at rates not seen since the recession.
Perhaps Kmart is hoping it’s upbeat slogan will distract shoppers from the grim reality that it, and the rest of the retail industry, is facing.
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