A Kmart store at the Sunshine Plaza Shopping facility in St Croix is one of 4 locations in the us ... <+> Virgin Islands.

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It to be a huge deal when Kmart set up shop in the United claims Virgin Islands. Because 1993, the retailer has delighted in a commanding and successful visibility in the us territory. Kmart has remained a an effective commercial pressure on the USVI yet the shelves are thinning in ~ its 4 locations and also rumors room flying that its tenure may be ending.

A Sunday report on the St. John Source website expressed worry over the retailer’s future in the territory. It declared that the keep was “visibly empty” and “some restock items nowhere in sight.”

Christmas ornaments and also wrapping file are “close come nonexistent.” The electronics department is blocked by shelving, and also the toy room is barren.

The retailer is no longer considered a go-to dependable retail location, especially during these holidays, and local occupants are compelled to rotate to digital resources.

A Kmart in Columbia, Pennsylvania, as shown on in march 2, 2020, shows the company"s current situation ... <+> about sparsely stocked stores.

Michael Lisicky

The Kmart shop in the Virgin Islands room traditionally several of the company’s strongest performers. Despite the territory has actually just end 100,000 residents, the USVI has tiny retail competition. There are no Walmarts or Targets to pressure Kmart right into oblivion.

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The retailer’s success in the Virgin archipelago is in sharp comparison to the Kmart stores located on the us mainland. Kmart shoppers on the mainland have grown accustomed come the company’s aging buildings, lengthy checkout lines, poorly-lit parking lots, and also inadequately stocked shelves.

The lose of Kmart in the Virgin Islands could prove terrible to the territory. For well over a decade, Kmart has actually been the USVI’s biggest private employer. Through the finish of 2019, it haddropped come second.

A Maryland Kmart, as viewed in October 2020, shows tiny stock along with a minimal holiday screen ... <+> department.

Michael Lisicky

Kmart’s closure could likewise reduce the lot of in its entirety goods easily easily accessible to USVI residents. Though its merchandise choice has dwindled in recent months, Kmart still carries numerous staples, from garments to bedding. That is Charlotte Amelie save is a constant stop because that cruise ship employees and travelers searching for essentials, and cheap rum.

But to some Virgin Islanders Kmart is concerned as a “necessary evil.” regardless of the prolonged checkout lines and the antiquated card readers, the retailer has some that the lowest prices in the territory. If Kmart closes, prices will rise and also competition will more diminish.

In September 2017, Kmart became a lifeline once two category 5 hurricanes, Irma and also Maria, slammed into the USVI. Though its stores were heavily damaged, Kmart reopened its locations as quickly as possible. One store opened for simply a few days and sold off emergency items until mold collection in and left the structure uninhabitable.

The large Tutu Park save suffered the most difficult storm damage. 18 that the building’s 22 air-conditioning devices blew off and also left significant holes in the structure’s roof. But a $10 million restoration carried the Tutu Park store earlier to life. It to be a dramatic undertaking because that a firm that was easily marching towards a October 2018 bankruptcy. Kmart described the 9-month rebuilding the the Tutu Park store as a commitment come its USVI operations, an investment in the employees and the community. The reopening the all four stores in the Virgin Islands assisted squelch rumors the a permanent closure.

Some big US territories have historically been lucrative markets for Kmart. The discount retailer effectively entered Puerto Rico in the mid 1960s and opened countless locations throughout the island territory. Yet there is sleeve competition in the Puerto Rican market and several Kmarts have closed in recent years.

However, the Tamuning, Guam store has actually been the retailer’s crown jewel due to the fact that May 1995. Not only is the the retailer’s biggest store, the Guam Kmart is a tourist destination and also an island institution. Its sales were three times higher than Kmarts ~ above the us mainland, once they to be a compete force. Guam caters come Japanese tourist who room attracted to American goods and low prices, make Kmart a constant stop.

The Kmart in ~ the sunny Isle Shopping center is one of four company locations in the us Virgin ... <+> Islands.


Kmart is a much different retailer this day than once it first opened in St Croix earlier in June 1993. At the time, Kmart activate 2,323 discount stores in all 50 states and also Puerto Rico. It had international work in Canada, the Czech Republic, and also Slovakia, in addition to joint ventures in Mexico and also SIngapore. It additionally operated separate other retail departments including Borders, OfficeMax, contractors Square, and also the sporting activities Authority.

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With less than 3 dozen remaining US stores, Kmart has limped its way through 2020. Its parental company, Transformco, is an offshoot the Sears Holdings CKH and also formed ~ the 2018 bankruptcy. Transformco operates Sears and also Kmart retail and also real heritage holdings and also defines chin an one “integrated retailer concentrated on seamlessly connecting the digital and also physical shopping experience to serve its members.” Transformco, classifies its customers as “members.”

However, many Kmart shoppers, even if it is in the Virgin islands or throughout its grasp of remaining areas in the US, may not want to be defined as “members.” Kmart shoppers, specifically in the Virgin Islands, want toys, electronics, housewares and also other essentials, as well as competitive retail options with stocked shelves.


I’ve to be cited in media publications as a department save “historian,” “lecturer,” “expert,” “guru,” “aficionado,” “junkie,” and “maven.” ns am an oboist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra however I have this second life. I have actually authored numerous department store history books, from Wanamaker"s to Gimbels, and also lectured at places such as the brand-new York public Library, Boston windy Library, new York Fashion Week, the Wanamaker centennial celebration, and the Historical society of Washington DC. I have added to theNew York Times, wall surface Street Journal, Fortune, Washington Post, NPR, BBC human being News, and also Southern Living. You may have also seen me top top CBS Sunday Morning. I love informing stories and also I was standing by mine research. I’m additionally athttps://www.departmentstorehistory.net/