Kmart Battles Wal-Mart in Grocery Aisles

NEW YORK – Kmart announced Tuesday that is it stepping up its systemwide rebranding program by converting 10 traditional stores to SuperCenters and adding another five SuperCenters to its operation by mid-November of 2001, bringing the total number of Kmart SuperCenter locations throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean to 124 by year-end.

Kmart SuperCenters contain full-service supermarkets, with as many as 40,000 grocery items, including fresh produce, bakery and prepackaged meal departments.

“We believe that we have anywhere from 1,000 to 1,300 stores that could be converted to SuperCenters,” said Kmart chairman/CEO Chuck Conaway. “And with our real estate portfolio, that gives us leverage to better serve our customers and shareholders.”

The news coincides with a report released Tuesday from ACNielsen that indicates rival Wal-Mart’s growth over the past 52 weeks has been driven by its Supercenters, which contain on the average of 40,000 square foot supermarket sections. Eight million more U.S. households than last year shopped in Wal-Mart Supercenters, and Supercenter shopper households spent 8% more than they did in the previous year, according to the report.