Kmart Employees Weigh In On Company’s Future
In the last 10 years, Kmart has closed down a third of its stores, and sales at stores have dropped by half. And, because of that, employees suspect the company is getting close to bankruptcy and closing all of its stores.
It appears that the other 941 stores still open are going through liquidation, entering number phases – 1, 2, etc.
According to several employees, the company said the phases involve a “path to profitability” strategy to increase the company’s profits. Employees claim it’s a liquidation plan with each phase involving a cost-cutting measure like a decrease in labor hours and layoffs. They’ve also caused stock-room purges, where merchandise in the stock room needs to be on the sales floor. If not enough room on the floor, stores add overhead shelving.
Employees claim once stock rooms have been purged, it’s roughly nine months before stores shut down.
Sears Holdings, Kmart’s parent company, has said this is not happening with all stores.
According to Howard Riefs, a Sears spokesman, said Sears Holdings is focused on bringing back profitability, and Kmart remains essential to its asset portfolio. The stockroom clearances for two reasons – to better inventory management and ensure employees stay on the sales floor.
However, Mandi Spoolman, an employee with Kmart, said her Virginia store is deteriorating. She said there are baskets full of returns and freights piling up because there’s no place to put them. Spoolman said racks of clothes are still in the backroom.
One Port Charlotte, Florida employee said the store has missing ceiling tiles and damaged walls. Another employee from Poughkeepsie, New York said her store have outdated registers, ancient technology, ceilings leak, cracked and uneven floors and the heating and air conditioning system is bad. She said there was just one remodel, back in 1997, since she’s been working with the company.
Riefs said the reports that Kmart is being let go is pure speculation. He said the company is carrying out the phased project to improve the inventory replenishment process where items are directed to the store shelves, not the stock rooms. Riefs said they would like the stores to have better customer service by ensuring associates are on the sales floor to help customers, which would also increase margins.
Many employees don’t feel this way, thinking the company is going to go bankrupt by summer 2017. One employee thinks that Sears Holdings will be gone by the time 2020 comes around.