NEW YORK — Kmart hopes it finally has the right stuff — especially when it comes to beauty.
The beleaguered chain, currently using a tag line — Stuff of Life — has a new look being tested at a store in White Lake, Mich. The design, featuring a bright green decor package that replaces the older red, white and blue, is also being implemented in four stores in Peoria, Ill. There are, however, a few tweaks in each of the test layouts.
If the look plays in Peoria and this 70,000-square-foot store in Michigan, it could be rolled out to the existing 1,831 Kmarts across the country. The goal is to sell more stuff from each store as Kmart struggles to regain financial health.
Kmart officials call the signage color "outrageous" green and it is a major departure from the traditional red Kmart signs. The store design was created by the Arnell Group (famed for work with DKNY), with the Dayton, Ohio-based Design Forum completing research, sharpening category adjacencies and conceiving the floor plan.
In addition to tapping consumer opinions — and following shoppers around with video cameras — to learn what Kmart needs to do, Kmart queried its employees who proved instrumental in providing ideas. One twist culled from employees: shopping carts for kids that look like cars.
One of the major alterations here is the widening of the shopping aisles. Traditional Kmarts only had 4 feet between fixtures — some departments here span 8 feet. Also, the store is sparkling clean and well lit. That plays out in beauty care where some fixtures are illuminated — a major upgrade for Kmart. The changes were made to this store, which remained open during the construction, last August. There are also enhanced navigational tools throughout the store and improved shopping adjacencies. For instance, health and beauty care was not next to the pharmacy in this store — now it is.
Kmart has long tinkered with how to present cosmetics and beauty care. Ten years ago, the chain linked cosmetics with jewelry and accessories. In the early 1990s, Kmart moved beauty to the front of the store and merged it with health and beauty care as well as pharmacy, in stores with Rx counters. The thought was to create a mini drugstore under one roof. Consequently, Kmart has a patchwork of store designs across the country with cosmetics in many spots.In this store, Kmart is linking beauty and health and beauty care, but giving each a distinct home. Since Kmart is zeroing in on expanding departments frequently shopped by busy women, categories such as shampoo and toothpaste take on great importance. These aisles, in particular, are airy and bright. There is a pharmacy nearby with a separate waiting area complete with chairs.
In cosmetics, Kmart is making efforts to tailor the beauty assortment to each store. For example, locations with a high concentration of women of color have expanded ethnic lines. In a shift for Kmart, local managers are given more leverage to bring in lines desired at each store. Kmart has also committed to specialty advertising vehicles such as Spanish ads in Hispanic markets. The chain, like many mass merchants, is also experimenting with its own brand, Love Always, Magenta.
The rest of the store brims with some of the key brands Kmart has secured recently to burnish its image, such as Joe Boxer. And, of course, Martha Stewart continues to be a core line in Kmart. Perhaps the chain can relate to the decorating maven’s woes — it is currently investigating alleged financial improprieties from the previous management.
The new colors and decor package are just part of Kmart chairman and chief executive officer Jim Adamson’s overhaul. He hopes to lure back shoppers who have gone to Wal-Mart or Target and to restart sales which have slumped since filing for Chapter 11 last January. At that time, many consumers complained the stores were dark and dirty. Kmart has also started closing stores, with 283 shut downs this year. Kmart posted a loss of $377 million in its second quarter with sales down 15.7 percent to $7.52 billion.
Adamson, who has drugstore retailing experience from his days at Revco, hopes to bring Kmart out of bankruptcy by the spring of 2003.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)