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daveb722
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May 10, 2020 3:18 pm  

I'm thinking Kmart is done on the island (STX - Sunny Isle) at least.  I worked for them from 88-2003, went through the first bankruptcy and emergence from it.  Based on my last few visits the past month and previous visits in January, they look just like it did before it went bankrupt.  When you start putting sporting goods in the bed an bath department and spreading of merchandise just to make the shelves look good, that's a really bad sign.  The vendors obviously aren't shipping, I would hope the government has been courting the like of Wal-mart.  One super wal-mart here would be sustainable IMO and probably help drive prices of groceries down.  Grocery stores would finally have to compete.  Home Depot prices are the same as they are on the mainland with the exception of possibly lumber and some commodity goods, but lately they have had a lot of issues keeping shelves full too.  But back to Kmart, the government needs to have a plan, start working with the likes of Wal-mart and hope that they come here to give the VI better options and pricing.  I'm thinking they close one of the Kmarts before the end of the year if not sooner.


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singlefin
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May 10, 2020 4:30 pm  

Was there myself last week and thought the same thing. Only Cruzan Run in alcohol section, everything else gone.

Rumors have been circulating for a long time about Walmart moving in.

Makes since


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jaldeborgh
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May 10, 2020 6:48 pm  

Is the K-Mart locally owned?  I know in some markets there is a freight shortage and non-essential goods are being delayed.  I wonder if that’s behind what you’re seeing.  The Home Depot in the Boston area, near me, is limiting the numbers of people in the store, much like they do in Supermarkets around here.  They do have curbside pickup, but that eliminates impulse buying.  Overall the retail space is being decimated, both Neiman Marcus and J Crew have filed for bankruptcy, more will surly fall soon.  It’s potentially moving so fast that it might take years to fill the vacuum that a bankrupt K-Mart would create.  On the mainland we can at least rely on online retailers like Amazon, Walmart our Wayfair, unfortunately not really an option on St. Croix.  My Amazon shipments that used to take 48 hours are now taking from 1 to 3 weeks and sometimes longer.  The system is very stressed, everyone is trying their best but the sudden switch to doing everything online is simply overwhelming. 


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singlefin
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May 10, 2020 8:12 pm  

Kmart has been on the ropes for a long time. The VI stores are a few of the profitable ones left because they’re the only game in town (island).

Walmart has dozens of stores in Puerto Rico and is in a good position to extend shipments here. The vacuum will be filled quickly. Have faith. Capitalism works.

Retailers like J Crew and Neiman Marcus were headed for bankruptcy well before this.


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daveb722
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May 10, 2020 8:14 pm  

@jaldeborgh  It's been like this for a while, but continuously worse each time.  Ever since Eddie Lambert bought it and tried to manage it everything became much worse.  I remember his wife wanted us to start wrapping each glass or plate (sold individually) like they would do at her Macy's in White Plains NY.  Next thing I knew we had sheets of paper in the stores in the matter of days, I left in a matter of weeks.  I knew where the company was headed.  As for HD, I don't understand their issues, some aisles are really good for in stock, but cleaning supplies have been poor since the hurricanes.  I watch them reset the aisles (meaning redoing the layout of the merchandise) almost everytime I'm here for these aisles, and they never fill it back up.  I'm almost thinking its for compliance as the vendors pay for the resets and the reset labor, and I believe if they are like Lowe's they send pictures to their corporate HQ for verification purposes.  But that's just a good guess, not really sure.  I go to gallows and although their volume is much less, they are in great shape for being instock on product.  


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Scubadoo
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May 10, 2020 10:36 pm  

Well cleaning supplies, anything related to disinfecting have been missing from store shelves in the states since beginning of the year, including Walmart.  Many other items run out until the next shipment.   Last week in a Walmart the toilet paper and napkin isle shelves were filled with spring seasonal items they had plenty of stock of.  The entire supply chain is stressed so Kmart is probably no different.


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jaldeborgh
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May 11, 2020 1:15 am  

@singlefin Not to worry, I have great faith in Capitalism and people, somehow we’ll find our way through the woods, because we need to.  A Walmart would be good for the USVI and STX specifically.

When my wife flew back to Boston at the end of March, originally because she didn’t want to be alone on the island with the COVID-19 pandemic plus she was scheduled for rotator cup surgery in mid April (since delayed to May 20th), she went on a campaign to buy up toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, masks and so on.  The store shelves for these items are still mostly bare but we now have a multi-year supply of much of what she went looking for.  She can be very determined when she puts her mind to something.  She’s also a shining example of why shortages exist.

She’s now worrying about a meat shortage, fortunately for our community, she’s a vegetarian and I’m not a picky eater.  I did however read that 30% of Wendy’s restaurants are out of beef.


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singlefin
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May 11, 2020 7:44 am  

Concerning local meat supply:

There is a fenced-in yard across the street from Beaston Hill Heath & Fitness. Several cows can usually be seen grazing in it. I noticed a hand painted sign on the property the other day, “cattle for sale.” So if you really want to stock up on hundreds of pounds of fresh beef, there’s plenty “on the hoof” available.

Not to worry though, I was in Plaza East last Wednesday, and plenty of beef, pork, & chicken available by the pound.

 


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Gator's Mom
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May 11, 2020 8:53 am  

I'm a Midwesterner and have relatives that live fairly close to pork and beef packing plants in Missouri, Kansas and Iowa. The workers virtually all test positive for COVID-19 - even in Ford County in SW Kansas. Since most of the line workers are brown (Mexican, Central American) and immigrants, no one really gives a rats a$$ about them. These plants are awful places in good times.

We're not talking about product safety yet. Fish, chicken, beans and veggies are sounding really good right now though.


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vicanuck
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May 11, 2020 10:06 am  

My wife went to Kmart the other day and found the shelves basically bare.

She left empty handed so we just ordered everything from Walgreens.com.

I won't really miss the Kmart.


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East Ender
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May 11, 2020 10:56 am  

This thread got me thinking....Before we left St Thomas last year, I didn't think K-Mart had a snowball's chance at Magens Bay. The brand names were completely unknown to me, like they were shipping stuff they couldn't sell anywhere else in the world. They never completely finished out the stores after Irma- concrete floors, etc. But this article puts it in perspective: https://www.scrapehero.com/location-reports/Kmart-USA/

There are more stores in the VI than in most cities.


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NorthsideKevin
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May 11, 2020 12:24 pm  

@jaldeborgh Yeahhhh.  No.  Walmart would probably not be good for anyone but the Walton family.  I don't see them building in the V.I. unless they can single handedly devastate a wide swath of small businesses in their wake.  That's their business model.  They need consumer base.  PR has the population, the V.I. doesn't.  Likewise with the population comes the small businesses they can destroy.  It's how they did it in America years ago.  And it worked for them, eliminating "Main Street" in thousands and thousands of cities and towns.  


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jaldeborgh
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May 11, 2020 12:46 pm  

@NorthsideKevin I just went online and checked, there are 55 Walmart owned stores on Puerto Rico and the island has a population of just under 3.2M, they also employee 15,000 people on the island.  That works out to 58K people for every store.  I would think that there would be less competition on STX or STT than Walmart sees on Puerto Rico.  Has Walmart ever proposed putting a store on either STX or STT?  That would indicate their interest level.

The question “is Walmart good or bad for the community” is a tough one.  My own opinion is that most people would trade lower prices for a disruption to some local businesses.  I would further argue that the online marketplace will have the same result.  This wave of change is unstoppable, so we will need to adapt and adjust.  We live in a global rapidly changing consumer economy, not facing that will end poorly for those that play and depend on this market for their living but don’t adapt.  It will be painful, but it cannot be stopped.  I’m approaching my mid 60’s and see all big box stores as a double edged sword.  Personally, I prefer to shop at locally owned stores but fully understand that I’m likely paying a premium for that privilege but appreciate that not everyone can afford that choice.


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vicanuck
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May 11, 2020 3:01 pm  

Personally, I would love to see a Walmart here and I fully expect they will move in as soon as Kmart finally collapses. They have a massive distribution center less than 100 miles away and can start to ship trailers here overnight.

I hope they devastate the likes of Plaza East, Plaza West and Seaside. They've made generations of their family fantastically rich at our expense.

But, Walmart or no Walmart, people will continue the unstoppable march toward online shopping.

I buy everything I can online. Why bother driving to OfficeMax, for example, only to find out they're out of stock on what I want (again). Amazon and others will deliver it right to my office.


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Gator's Mom
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May 11, 2020 3:18 pm  

Sears/Kmart is now Transformco.

From Wikipedia:

On November 7, 2019, it was announced that Transformco would close an additional 96 stores, including 45 Kmarts and 51 Sears stores, February 2020, leaving 70 Kmart stores in 19 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and United States Virgin Islands, and 123 Sears stores, respectively.

At least one source reported that Transformco would have a total of 182 full Sears and Kmart stores remaining after the 96 announced stores were closed by February 2020. On February 6, 2020, Transformco announced an additional closure of 15 Kmarts and 26 Sears, effective to close around April 2020.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformco

 

Transformco closed Sears until April 30, 2020 and furloughed Sears employees. Kmarts remained opened.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/transformco-temporarily-closes-sears-stores-221100259.html


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daveb722
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May 11, 2020 3:54 pm  

I understand the fear of the affect on small businesses, but one wal-mart won't destroy them as I feel here they have a great local following.  Like one of the posters above, the food stores will be most affected due to the over priced goods they sell.  With Walmart already having a foot print on San Juan, distribution would be easy for them and they could be easily supported by the population here.  When I worked for Kmart in the 80-90's the stores here were some of the highest volume locations in the company.  I could have come here on a 2 year contract at the time as they were looking for store managers to run these stores.  The only reason most didn't was the high shrink numbers and finding help seemed to always be a problem even then.  Internet is the way to go, but that can be daunting here as well.  I'll probably cancel my prime membership as I have read the only way to get the shipping waved is to call and that seems to be a pain unless anyone has a better solution.  

 


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East Ender
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May 11, 2020 4:17 pm  

dave: If you read the small print, free shipping is not available for Prime customers in the VI. People keep saying to call them, but you really are not allowed free shipping.

I would rather have Target than Walmart after experiencing both.


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Gator's Mom
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May 11, 2020 4:25 pm  
Posted by: @daveb722

I understand the fear of the affect on small businesses, but one wal-mart won't destroy them as I feel here they have a great local following.  Like one of the posters above, the food stores will be most affected due to the over priced goods they sell.  With Walmart already having a foot print on San Juan, distribution would be easy for them and they could be easily supported by the population here.  When I worked for Kmart in the 80-90's the stores here were some of the highest volume locations in the company.  I could have come here on a 2 year contract at the time as they were looking for store managers to run these stores.  The only reason most didn't was the high shrink numbers and finding help seemed to always be a problem even then.  Internet is the way to go, but that can be daunting here as well.  I'll probably cancel my prime membership as I have read the only way to get the shipping waved is to call and that seems to be a pain unless anyone has a better solution.  

 

Kmart opened in 1993-4 on STT, 1998 on STX. 

Definitely Target not Walmart. But Kmart isn't going anywhere. VI, PR and Guam will be the last Kmarts to go.

More likely to get some version of a dollar store if Kmart folds. These stores dominate small towns now.

This post was modified 5 months ago 4 times by Gator's Mom

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vicanuck
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May 11, 2020 4:31 pm  
Posted by: @daveb722

I'll probably cancel my prime membership as I have read the only way to get the shipping waved is to call and that seems to be a pain unless anyone has a better solution.  

 

I don't have Prime for the free shipping, I have it for the streaming TV and music service.

Free shipping doesn't matter to me. When I want what I want, I just order it.


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vicanuck
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May 11, 2020 4:36 pm  
Posted by: @gators_mom
Kmart opened in 1993-4 on STT, 1998 on STX.
 
Definitely Target not Walmart. But Kmart isn't going anywhere. VI, PR and Guam will be the last Kmarts to go.

But, sooner or later, go they will.

Interestingly, when I was in Australia a few months ago, I discovered that they have thriving Kmart stores almost everywhere. However, these Kmarts are owned by a completely different company unrelated to the ownership of Sears/Kmart in N. America. The AU stores are up to date, we run and very busy.


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NorthsideKevin
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May 11, 2020 6:22 pm  

When Walmart was building stores, a friend of mine did an investigation and paper on the effect on local businesses and "main st."  The whole model was to take, take, take.  In a number of places in the U.S., Walmart took, took and took and ultimately closed the store leaving NOTHING in their wake but people without any place to shop.  Let's see . . . 22 stores in the U.S. and Canada closed just this year.  These people are the worst of the worst.  They couldn't care less.  They targeted hardware stores, sporting goods, pharmacies - you name it.  And wiped them out.  Seems to me I recall a discussion about Walmart rejecting putting anything in the Virgin Islands.  Kinda like many franchises won't allow their brand here.  Too many issues with the DOL.  

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daveb722
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May 11, 2020 7:09 pm  

@gators_mom I became a store manager with them in 97 and worked in Long Island 99-2003, my dates are a little off, but they were some of the higher more profitable stores at the time.  Joe Antonini?  (CEO at the time)not sure the spelling used to broadcast in the early 90's how Wal-mart was a fly by night company on his weekly mgt shows.  

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daveb722
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May 11, 2020 7:16 pm  

@northsidekevin  Not sure if they would come here, but the take take take piece was and is correct.  It's also a reflection of small business not focusing on making their business better.  Every company closes a few stores each year, HD, Lowe's, Walmart and Target.  As customer patterns change, other store openings, they need to close in order to be competitive.  I always support small businesses, but better prices on groceries and basic commodities would be welcome.  If you compare HD Stx and state side their pricing is the same except for commodity items (lumber, building materials, etc), but a grill in NY, is the same price as the one here in the VI.  Yes they can absorb the pricing the cost of doing business here but small businesses can change and actually provide service to combat the big box retailers.  HD here, Kmart etc have no CS at all.  I go into Gallows bay and I get asked multiple times if I need help.  I'll pay a little more for goods there than go to HD if they have what I need.  Honestly Gallows Bay pricing is very competitive with HD from what I have seen.  Just my opinion

 


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daveb722
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May 11, 2020 7:17 pm  

@vicanuck Yes they seperated from US Kmart , forget when, but were able to keep the name

 

Kmart was originally a joint venture between Coles and the S.S. Kresge Company, which operated Kmart in the USA . It combined a supermarket with a discount department store. When the first Kmart store opened in Burwood, east of Melbourne, an estimated 40,000 people passed through the checkouts on the first day.

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vicanuck
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May 12, 2020 8:06 am  
Posted by: @daveb722

@vicanuck Yes they seperated from US Kmart , forget when, but were able to keep the name.

It was amazing! They were like the Walmart of Australia. My son shops there regularly.


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