As of 2014, Sears Holdings, which owns and operates Kmart and Sears retail stores, has closed over 200 Kmart and Sears locations due to increasing financial losses as a result of declining sales figures. The two retailers have struggled in recent years to stay competitive with other major retail chains.
Kmart's struggles date back to 1994, when the company closed 110 stores partly due to its failure to utilize computer technology for managing its supply chain. Additionally, the company maintained a high dividend, making it difficult to invest additional funds for improving its stores to keep up with more modern trends.
In 2002, Kmart filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and successfully emerged from bankruptcy as the Kmart Holdings Corporation over a year later. Following its emergence from bankruptcy protection, the company closed over 300 stores in the United States, impacting approximately 34,000 of its employees. At the time, Kmart also experimented with several prototype locations that featured improvements, including a new logo, layout, color scheme, wider aisles and an improved selection. The prototype locations never saw a broad rollout, due to the company's weak financial state.
Kmart's first location opened on March 1, 1962 in Garden City, Michigan, and another 17 Kmart stores opened the same year.