Kmart Company History Timeline


Kmart or K-Mart is a Hoffman Estates, Illinois based, American chain of discount department stores that was formed originally in 1899 as S.S Kresge Corporation named after its owner.

Kmart was formed first in 1899 under the name S. S Kresge Corporation.


In 1912, Kresge incorporated the S.S. Kresge Company in Delaware with eighty-five stores.


In 1916, Kresge incorporated a new S.S. Kresge Company in Michigan and took over the operations of the original company; the new company in Michigan is the modern day Kmart company.


The company was first listed on the New York Stock Exchange on May 23, 1918.


By 1924, Kresge was worth approximately $375 million and owned real estate of the approximate value of $100 million.


Kresge retired as the company president in 1925.

Kresge retired as president in 1925.


The Great Depression reduced profitability and resulted in store closings, with the number rising to 682 in 1940.


The company finally opened its first Kmart store at Garden City, Michigan, in 1962 with Harry Cunningham as its executive head and kept expanding by leaps and bounds.

Sixteen more Kmart stores opened in 1962.

Kmart or K-Mart is a Hoffman Estates, Illinois based, American chain of discount department stores that was formed originally in 1899 as S.S Kresge Corporation named after its owner. It was renamed as K-Mart in 1962 under the leadership of Harry Cunningham and is presently the third largest discount chain in the world, after only Walmart and Target.


Company founder Kresge died on October 18, 1966 at age 99.

The founder, Kresge died in the year 1966.


Some stores that were not performing well changed to ‘Jupiter Discount Stores Brand’. The original name S. S Kresge Corporation was finally done away with in 1977 and the company was renamed as Kmart Corporation.


In 1980, Vice Chairman Bernard M. Fauber was elected as the Chairman and as the CEO of Kmart.


Until November 1990, when it was passed by Walmart, Kmart was the second-largest retailer in the United States, after Sears.

In 1990, in an effort to update its image, Kmart introduced a new logo.

The Sports Authority was acquired by Kmart in 1990 and spun-off 5 years later.


Super Kmart Center (Super Kmart) opened an all-new location on July 25, 1991 in Medina, Ohio, featuring a full-service grocery and general merchandise.


In 1992, Kmart entered the Eastern European market with the purchase of 13 stores in the former Czechoslovakia.

Kmart's profitability and sales peaked in 1992, and have since declined due to competition with Walmart, Target, and internet shopping.


In 1994, Kmart announced they would close 110 stores.


In September 1995, Kmart sold its money-losing in-store auto repair centers to Penske Corporation for $112 million to operate them as Penske Auto Centers.


These stores were sold off in 1996.


Big Kmart opened in Chicago, Illinois, on April 23, 1997.

Initially, the Big Kmart stores were successful, and by the end of 1997, Kmart had seen their sales numbers grow by 10% due to success of their Big Kmart stores.

In 1997, Kmart launched the Kmart Cash Card as a replacement for the paper gift certificates and facilitate the return process.


In 1998, Kmart acquired 45 former Venture stores and converted them into Big Kmart stores.


In July 1999, Kmart hired SuperValu and Fleming to distribute $3.9 billion worth of food and other related products to all Kmart stores.

By the end of 1999, Kmart saw another increase in sales numbers by 6.5% due to the success of their Big Kmart stores.


In 2000, Kmart and Capital One launched an all-new co-branded MasterCard as a replacement for the private label Kmart credit cards.

Also in 2000, Kmart expanded the Martha Stewart Everyday Garden Collection to include live plants and seeds.


In February 2001, Japanese video game company Sega sued Kmart for failure to pay $2.2 million of $25.9 million for Sega Dreamcast game systems.

In 2001, Kmart opened several new Kmart Super Center stores as part of Kmart's plan to expand their Kmart Super Center store portfolio, along with Kmart trying to make groceries available at stores as well.

In 2001, Kmart signed a $4.5 billion arrangement with Fleming, making them the sole food and consumables distributor for the company's stores.


_January 2002: Kmart named a new chairman, James B. Adamson, who replaced Charles Conaway.

_January 2002: Kmart filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

However, due to Kmart filing for bankruptcy in January 2002, Kmart was unable to open any more new Kmart Super Center stores, and any of the Kmart Super Center stores that were under construction during Kmart's 2002 bankruptcy were halted, no matter how close the stores were to completion.

On January 22, 2002, Kmart filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection under the leadership of its then-chairman Charles Conaway and president Mark Schwartz.

_March 2002: Kmart announced it would close 284 stores, affecting 22,000 jobs.

_March 2002: Conaway left the company and Adamson became chief executive.

_May 2002: Kmart launched an investigation into the way the company was managed under former CEO Conaway.

_December 2002: Kmart was de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange.


On January 13, 2003, Kmart closed 326 stores due to a lack of profitability and poor sales.

_March 31, 2003: Kmart announces the elimination of 660 jobs, including some 400 jobs at its headquarters.

_April 21, 2003: Federal bankruptcy judge approves Kmart’s reorganization plan.

_May 6, 2003: Kmart leaves Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

On May 6, 2003, Kmart emerged from bankruptcy protection as a subsidiary of the new Kmart Holding Corporation.

On June 10, 2003, Kmart began trading on the NASDAQ stock market with the ticker symbol of KMRT with Lampert serving as the chairman and with ESL Investments controlling 53% of the new company for an investment of less than $1 billion.

19, 2003: Kmart president Julian Day is promoted to chief executive officer

24, 2003: Kmart files its reorganization plan in federal bankruptcy court.

By the fourth quarter of 2003, Kmart posted its first profitable quarter in three years, although it has since returned to an operating loss.


On August 12, 2004, Kmart and E! Entertainment Television announced a new, exclusive, cross-promotional clothing brand called Attention.

On November 8, 2004, Kmart launched the Kmart Rewards credit card that is managed by HSBC Bank.

On November 17, 2004, Kmart's management announced its intention to purchase Sears for $11 billion.

Towards the end of 2004, K-mart purchased Sears changing its name to Sears Holding Corporation.


In 2005, Sears Holdings Corporation introduced the Sears Essentials store format, which was supposed be like a Sears store and a Kmart store mixed together.

Kmart started remodeling stores to the "Orange" prototype in 2005.


In 2006, the company discontinued the Sears Essentials name, and renamed all of the Sears Essentials stores as Sears Grand stores.

In 2006, the typical white and blue interior of the stores was changed to orange and brown, and shelf heights were lowered to create better sightlines.


Kmart was awarded with the “Outstanding Corporate Citizen” Title in 2008 for its support towards the “Step Out: Walk to fight Diabetes” campaign and is the third largest discount store chain in the world followed by Walmart and Target.

Kmart has raised more than $59.2 million for St Judes in 2008 and donated around $21.9 million to St Judes in 2013. It also became a national sponsor for “Step Out: Walk To Fight Diabetes”, an American Diabetes Association initiative and successfully raised around $ 1.5 million in 2008 for it.


In July 2009, Sears Holdings opened its first Sears-branded appliance store inside a Kmart.

Blue Light Specials were revived again in 2009 on Saturdays, offering surprise hour-long sales on selected merchandise, but were discontinued again.


On December 27, 2011, after a disastrous holiday sales season, Sears Holdings announced that 100 to 120 of Sears and Kmart stores would close.


The Revenue collection for Kmart was U$ 15.285 billion in 2012.

Kmart's headquarters were relocated to Hoffman Estates, Illinois, and in 2012 the sprawling headquarters complex in Troy, Michigan, was acquired by the Forbes Company, which owns the nearby upscale mall, Somerset Collection.


On October 10, 2014, Kmart was a victim of a data breach concerning customers' credit and debit card information.

Along with store closings, measures included the spinning off its Lands' End division, selling most of its stake in Sears Canada, issuing debt and taking on loans that cumulatively put it on track to raise $1.445 billion in cash in 2014.


Blue Light Specials were revived once again in November 2015.


In April 2016, Kmart announced that it was liquidating 68 stores.


In January 2017, Kmart announced that 78 more stores would close, including the first Kmart location in Garden City, Michigan.

In May 2017, Kmart announced the upcoming closure of 18 more stores.

In early June 2017, Kmart announced that an additional 49 stores across the United States were to be shuttered by September 2017.


On January 4, 2018, after yet another disappointing holiday sales season, Kmart announced the liquidation of 64 more stores in the spring of 2018.

On April 12, 2018, Sears announced plans to close and auction 16 of its Sears stores, and close several more Kmart locations, but did not specify how many.

On June 28, 2018, Sears Holdings disclosed 10 of the stores being evaluated and announced they would close by September 2018.

On November 8, 2018, Sears Holdings announced it would close an additional 40 stores, including 11 Kmart stores.


On January 15, 2019, when it had appeared that Kmart's parent, Sears Holdings, was preparing to file for Chapter 7 liquidation, the bankruptcy court judge ordered the company to return to the negotiating table and work out a new deal with Eddie Lampert to prevent the liquidation from occurring.

In papers filed on February 1 with the bankruptcy court, ESL "outlined plans to close three Kmart stores per month in 2019" if the court decides to accept ESL's purchase bid.

At the time of the announcement, TransformCo also added that it "cannot rule out additional store closures in the near term." Between August 5 and 23, 2019, it was later announced that four more Kmarts would close.

On August 29, 2019, the massive closure of 77 Kmart stores was announced, with the stores being closed by December 15, 2019.


In May 2020, Kmart announced plans to close two additional stores, the last Kmart in North Dakota, in Minot, and the last Kmart in New Hampshire, in West Lebanon, which will leave Kmart out of 41 states and left in 9.

Company Founded
Troy, MI
Company Headquarter
S. S. Kresge,Sebastian Kresge
Company Founders

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