Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Kmart Plans to Close Altus Store

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Kmart Plans to Close Altus Store

Article excerpt

DETROIT (AP) _ The Kmart Corp. discount store in Altus is one of 110 in 30 states the giant retailer will close nationwide because it is failing to meet financial goals.

Kmart announced the cutbacks Thursday.

A total of 6,000 jobs will be eliminated nationally and the company's management force will be cut 10 percent.

The Altus store has 42 employees. A company spokeswoman said the workers will be allowed to apply for jobs at other Kmarts once the store closes Feb. 12.

Mary Lorencz, the spokeswoman, said the store in Altus will be marketed for other tenants.

Investors pushed Kmart stock higher, welcoming the move to close stores that aren't making enough money so the company can concentrate on expanding in more promising areas.

It's a steep retrenchment for Kmart, whose blue-light specials dominated suburban mini malls, but have been eclipsed by Wal-Mart's aggressive moves into rural areas.

"We will insist that our stores fully meet our return on investment requirements," Kmart Chairman Joseph E. Antonini said in a statement.

"Much remains to be done. But we are making considerable progress with initiatives to strengthen the core Kmart discount business and enhance the profitability of Kmart Corp.," Antonini said.

Kmart also replaced the head of its expanding Super Kmart division with a grocery executive. Super Kmart Centers put traditional Kmart offerings and a supermarket under one roof. There are currently 44 Super Kmarts and the company plans to open another 26 by the end of the year.

"It's a tough decision for the company to make," said Walter Loeb, a retail analyst and consultant in New York. "Will they catch up to Wal-Mart? I don't think so. Will they be a discount store in their own right? I think they can."

The company had said earlier it planned to close stores and some analysts saw Thursday's announcement as a symbolic one aimed at signaling to Wall Street that it is serious about making changes. …

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