Kmart announces new store closings, job cuts; 3 SC stores included - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Kmart announces new store closings, job cuts; 3 SC stores included

(Lexington) Jan. 14th, 2003 - Kmart has announced that it will close another 326 stores in 44 states, including three in South Carolina. Kmart stores will close in Aiken, Spartanburg and Walterboro.

The only commotion at a Kmart in Lexington when WIS News 10 stopped by was the clanking of shopping carts. The store is not closing, which is good news to regular customers like Fred Lovin, "Pretty much everything is there and not as crowded."

Deborah Fowler directs the center for retailing at USC, "This is really sad because Kmart is a great American retailer." She points out Kmart's 100 year history, beginning as a five and dime.

Kmart Anjanetta Smith says when Wal-Marts and Targets were born, Kmart couldn't seem to carve its own niche, "When Wal-Mart came, a lot of people started going to Wal-Mart, competitive prices there. I think that's what happened."

Lovin isn't pleased with the cut-backs, "It doesn't sound good to me with the economy the way it is to hear anybody closing, because I'm a small business owner myself."

Fowler says the closings in the Palmetto State are more about Kmart than our economy, but she wouldn't be surprised if more companies announce closings, "Kmart is not the only retailer that has too many stores. We'll probably see a number of retailers cutting back."

Kmart chief executive James Adamson says the discount chain plans to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of April. The company says up to 35,000 K-mart employees will lose their jobs in the new round of closings, which will leave the company with around 1500 stores.

Last year, K-mart shut down 283 stores, affecting 22,000 jobs. K-mart needs to close stores while under bankruptcy protection to allow it to get out of leases.
  
No word yet on exactly when the stores in South Carolina will close.

South Carolina locations closing:

  • Aiken, Hitchcock Plaza
  • Spartanburg, Super K at 110 E Blackstock Road
  • Walterboro, Big K at 320 Robertson Boulevard

By Jennifer Miskewicz
Updated 10:53pm by BrettWitt with AP

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