Kmart’s Retail Experiment Goes Awry
Sears Holdings Chief Executive Eddie Lampert is freaking out his employees. The CEO has started moving Kmart stockroom merchandise onto the sales floor. The move, according to the company, is aimed at freeing up employees to assist shoppers, making sure they “[do] not wait in line at the checkout,” reported the New York Post. But the time-saving maneuver had one unforeseen side effect: employees thought the chain was going out of business. Amidst the hysteria, Kmart’s head of retail, Gareth Glynne, clarified on the retailer's blog that it has no plans to liquidate.
Total Retail’s Take: Lampert missed the mark. I understand the ultimate goal — “stores to operate more efficiently, deliver improved customer service by enabling our associates to spend more time on the sales floor assisting members” — but at the very least, management couldn’t sent out a memo to its employees alerting them? By moving merchandise onto the sales floor, it will help the storefronts from looking less threadbare. It wasn’t that long ago that Kmart and Sears Holding announced their “transformation plan” and started closing multiple stores in batches. Note to self: send a memo. And is it really that unreasonable for employees to think that Kmart may be going out of business?