Kmart’s last Oahu store to close later this year as new shopping experience emerges

Local News

Kmart is saying farewell to Oahu.

The retailer’s last Oahu store, on Kamokila Boulevard in Kapolei, will close in mid-October. A liquidation sale will begin July 27.

A spokesman for Kmart’s owner, Sears Holdings, in a statement:

“We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity, and have accelerated the closing of unprofitable stores as previously announced. This is not an effort solely aimed at cost savings but is part of a strategy we have been executing against as many of our larger stores are too big for our needs. Having fewer stores, and the right format, will help us bring Sears Holdings to a size and place to meet the realities of the changing retail world.”

Kmart still operates one store in Kailua-Kona, and another in Lihue. The company says those stores will not be impacted.

The closure comes as a new type of shopping experience grows in popularity.

“You’re just going to see a new world happening more and more. Smaller stores will be coming and the bigger stores will go away, and all in all, it’s better for the consumer down the line,” said real estate analyst Stephany Sofos.

Sofos says what many of us already know — that retail is going through big changes. Brick-and-mortar stores are bleeding, and shoppers are turning to the internet for both convenience and price.

For example, three stores are taking over what used to be the Kmart location in Iwilei: Ross Dress for Less, Longs Drugs, and soon-to-be PetSmart.

Sofos says for retail to survive, they need to add new components, including entertainment, similar to what Ala Moana is doing by adding Lucky Strike bowling as part of its overhaul of the old Shirokiya location.

“We want new things. We’re fickle,” Sofos said. “We don’t like everything that mom and dad like. We want our own stores, so this is something that’s going to renovate and recycle and in the long run, it’ll be better for the consumer.”

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