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Kmart (originally S. S. Kresge & Co.), was a Troy, Michigan-based "big box" discount department store chain founded in 1912. It began operating stores under the "Kmart" name in 1962 and changed its company name to the K Mart Corporation in 1977.

Until it was surpassed by Wal-Mart in 1990, Kmart was America's second-largest retailer after Sears. The chain peaked in sales and profits in 1992. Over the next decade it sold off its auto service centers and closed hundreds of stores. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2002.

In 2004 the holding company created to own the struggling chain merged with Sears and moved its offices to Sears' headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The combined company continued to lose ground to Wal-Mart and online retailers, and liquidated hundreds of properties along with several house brands and operating divisions. The last Alabama store, in Albertville, Marshall County, was shuttered in 2018. The Sears Holdings Corporation filed for bankruptcy itself in October of that year. In February 2019 a total of 202 remaining stores were sold to Edward Lampert's Transform Holdco. The company put its headquarters offices in Hoffman Estates up for sale in December 2021.

Between 1965 and 1991 the Kmart chain offered periodic short-term "Blue Light Specials" which were announced with a rotating blue light and the phrase, "attention Kmart shoppers...," heard over the store's public address system.


  • American Fare, a joint project with Bruno's supermarkets which operated three "hypermarket" stores between 1989 and 1994
  • BlueLight dial-up internet service, launched in 1999 and sold to United Online in 2002
  • Borders Books, acquired in 1992 and merged into Borders-Walden Group, which was sold off in 1995
  • Builders Square home improvement chain, sold to Hechinger in 1997
  • OfficeMax, acquired in 1991 and sold off in 1995
  • PayLess Drugs, acquired in 1985 and sold off in 1994
  • The Sports Authority, acquired in 1990 and sold off in 1995
  • Waldenbooks, acquired in 1984 and merged into Borders-Walden Group, which was sold off in 1995


S. S. Kresge & Co.



  • Kresge, Stanley Sebastian (1957) S. S. Kresge Company and Its Builder, Sebastian Spering Kresge. Newcomen Society
  • Sellers, Patricia (January 2, 1989) "Attention, Kmart Shoppers." Fortune
  • Turner, Marcia Layton (2003) Kmart's Ten Deadly Sins: How Incompetence Tainted an American Icon. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780471435938
  • "Timeline Traces Kmart's History" (February 6, 2003) Associated Press
  • International Directory of Company Histories. Vol. 47 (2002) St James Press, quoted in "Kmart Corporation History at
  • "Kmart" (August 16, 2022) Wikipedia - accessed August 17, 2022

External links