Kmart Exit Plans Continue With Series of Layoffs

Kmart began laying off staff and management this week at its Troy, Mich., headquarters and elsewhere that could top 25 percent of senior positions.

NEW YORK — Attention Kmart bosses: Job losses are coming soon to an office near you.

This story first appeared in the March 13, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Kmart this week began laying off staff at its Troy, Mich., headquarters and management cuts in Troy and elsewhere in the organization could top one-quarter of senior positions, according to a spokesman for the bankrupt discount chain.

As reported, the retailer was looking to reduce corporate overhead and adjust staffing to reflect its downsized operations following January’s announcement that it will close 300-plus stores.

One of the senior executives already let go was Steve Feuling, who had been senior vice president, marketing.

The spokesman said the discounter is evaluating its senior management needs first in anticipation of installing its “new management team in place as swiftly as possible.”

There’s no word yet, however, on when that team might be in place, or even whether anyone has been hired for open positions such as chief financial officer and chief merchandising officer.

The spokesman also said that about 25 to 30 percent of senior positions ultimately will be eliminated. Some of those positions had been vacant, but now, won’t be filled at all.

He declined comment on the expected total number of job eliminations at headquarters, but indicated the evaluation process is expected to be completed by the end of the month. According to retail sources in Troy, the rumblings surrounding Kmart’s headquarters pegged the head-count reduction for the latest round of cuts at about 700. Last year, when Kmart evaluated its staffing needs following its first round of store closures, about 680 jobs were lost by August. Those cuts were made over the course of several weeks.

Kmart is still on track to exit bankruptcy proceedings by the end of April. The next court hearing on its reorganization plan and disclosure statement is set for April 14 and 15.