NEW YORK--For the first time in its history, Kmart Corp. has decided to open all of its discount stores nationwide on Easter Sunday, April 16. None of Kmart's 2,350 discount stores were open last Easter, but the company opened its Super Kmart Centers, which sell groceries, a spokeswoman said Friday. The Kmart stores' holiday hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wal-Mart Stores will also open its stores on Easter Sunday, unless prohibited by local or state regulations, a spokeswoman said. In the battle between the nation's largest discounters, Kmart has fallen behind Wal-Mart in terms of sales and market share over the past few years. As reported, Joseph E. Antonini, who had been chief executive officer of Kmart since 1987, resigned last week under pressure from shareholders, who were dissatisfied with his effort to turn the retailer around. Kmart said store associates working on Easter will do so on a voluntary basis and will be paid at a premium rate. Based on its experience of opening stores on Thanksgiving Day, Kmart does not expect any difficulty staffing the stores, the spokeswoman said. "Many other retailers, especially those that offer food services, are open on Easter, including Super Kmart Centers," Paul J. Hueber, Kmart's senior vice president, sales and operations, said in a statement Friday. "That's because customers have more to do and less time to juggle work, family and shopping."
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