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A new approach to appliances at Kmart

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The market on Friday cheered a move by Kmart parent company Sears Holdings to cut 700 positions from the appliance departments at 225 stores. Shares of Sears Holding advanced $2.67 on Friday to close at $74.03 after news of the layoffs was reported Friday morning by the Wall Street Journal.

Kmart spokesman Chris Brathwaite was quoted as saying the move will allow customers to check out appliances at any register rather than going to a dedicated register for appliances. But there also won’t be any specialized appliance-only staff people on hand near appliances. Instead, all Kmart staffers are being trained to answer questions about appliances, according to Brathwaite. There will also be a 1-800 number customers can call for help.

That is hardly the type of customer service appliance shoppers are used to experiencing at such other leading appliance retailers as full-line Sears stores, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Best Buy or HH Gregg. The move makes sense for Kmart though, since its stores are hardly a destination for appliances, other than the type that fit on kitchen counters. These days, shoppers in the market for large appliances have done considerable online research and made up their mind about what model to buy before they set foot in the store. So the opportunity for a sales associate with minimal training at a Kmart store to influence a shopper’s purchase was quite low and therefore not worth the company’s investment in labor.

Kmart had expanded the number of stores with appliance departments to 1,300 stores from 270 stores in February.

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T.DE MONTI says:
Jun-22-2011 02:13 pm

Another blow to customer
Another blow to customer service in a store already suffering from below expectiation customer service.

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Industry Dashboard for June 20, 2011

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Housing starts, with nowhere to go but up, showed month-to-month improvement in May. Gas prices have retreated about 25 cents per gallon compared with a month ago.

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Readers Respond to medical marijuana and the home business

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Two news items last week — here and here — pointed to the potential for sales of medicinal marijuana-related products. Here’s what we heard from readers. 

"For many years I believe that this market has not only been overlooked but is very lucrative, and for the life of me I cannot understand how anyone could miss the opportunity for growth (pardon the pun) in this market."
— Lynn Davis
Sebastopol, Calif.
 

"I believe this is a dishonest way of making pot legal and circumventing the Feds.

The states are tired of arresting pot smokers and sending them to jail. We tie up our court systems, which are really needed for higher crimes. We also tie up tax dollars that could be spent on something better. We have lost the war on drugs, and that is no joke. Billions have been spent to win this battle, or should I say this lost cause. It is not that I agree with this plan. I have never smoked pot, but those in charge today I bet most of them have and still do."
— John Stokes 

"I would love to investigate this as a new category. Historically you can watch the social, regulatory and legal trends begin in California and sweep across the nation. Getting on board now will only keep up with the market, but help form it as well."
— Jennifer L. Andrew
VP business development
Cambridge Resources
 

"It’s not appropriate at all."
— Ed Deiss
White Bear Lake, Minn.
 

"Yes, it is about time the medical marijuana community is treated with respect. Great opportunities for helping people and increases legitimate business and tax revenue."
— Name withheld 

"Certainly an appropriate category. The stuff should be legalized anyway — and taxed to death."
— Mark Peterson

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