Yea or Nay: K-Mart

Budget Fashionista content uses affiliate links. We may earn a buck if you click and buy.

This week’s Yea or Nay is all about K-Mart, which still manages to hang on despite being surrounded by cheaper (Wal-Mart) and more stylish (Target) stores.

Here’s some facts (well at least as I see it) about K-Mart….

1. K-Mart was one of the first major discount department stores to do a celebrity fashion line (the Jacqueline Smith line, which has grossed over $600 million since it’s incept in the early eighties)

2. 99.9% of K-Marts are a total mess. Yes, Wal-Mart is a mess, too. But Wal-Mart is a cheaper mess.

3. The Martha Stewart line has great towels. (at least, according to my mom).

4. The worst, fashion related thing you can do is to take your kids clothing shopping at K-Mart. Even Goodwill is thought to be cooler. Except in Puerto Rico, where K-Mart is the spot on a Saturday night (I’m not kidding).

So why do people still shop there? Is there a particular brand that draws you in? Is it habit? Is it location? What, if anything, could they do to make it better?

Kmart: Yea or Nay?


You also might like these:

  • Noir

    I do pick up on the fact that it is not cool or cheap to shop there, but, I am a loyal old body and respect K-Mart for maintaining stores in urban areas that no one will build a new store. There is one next to my church so I go.

    We buy suitcases there. I like the closet stuff and cookware. I bought a three piece suit at another K-Mart in 2007 . I wore the jacket today! It is really well-made with really good fabric and interesting top stitching. I saw three-piece suit there a couple of weeks ago.

    Ten years ago, our K-Mart was the #1 store on the East Coast for developing film. But, once digital took over years ago, traffic to the store declined a lot.

    • TBF

      I hear you… KMart has really upped it’s game as of late on the style front.. but people still don’t know about it 🙁 That’s ok… more for us!

  • cathy

    I lived in Puerto Rico for six years … you obviously do not understand the culture of the island. There are approximately 4 million people on a tiny island … all stores are busy with people all of the time, unless it is special holiday … such as Christmas, Three Kings Day etc. when the stores are closed and only the cinemas are open and then the cinema’s are packed with people.

    KMart sucks IMHO and WalMart sucks too here stateside in New Mexico. I rather shop at Target. The main reason being the environment or class of people who generally frequent either KMart and WalMart. My views differ if I were still residing in Puerto Rico!! I frequented KMart near Plaza Las Americas. It was clean, organized and two stories!!

  • joliemisek

    I love most of Jaclyn Smith’s clothing line and have bought it for several years. It mixes well with better labels and I always receive compliments on my outfits. You can also score good deals online. The store seemed to lose focus when they merged with Sears.

  • Meg the Florida Bargain Queen

    I don’t shop at Kmart a lot, yet some of my favorite finds are from there.  I got a great pair of white Mary Jane ballet flats that I wear all the time (and saw for more at Steinmart ‘on sale’).  I also got a nice, blue leather bag for $9 and a great, brown lambskin bag for $17! 

    I keep saying that I need to put Kmart on my regular shopping trip itinerary, but it never seems to happen—even though it’s cheaper, and even neater, than most of the other stores I visit.

  • holly

    I live in a smallish college city with few “big box” stores, but does have K-Mart and Fred Meyer.  The neighboring town, about 20 miles away, has Wal-Mart, Target, Old Navy, etc., but I usually don’t have much to get, thus it’s not cost-effective to drive that distance.
    I usually go to K-Mart because they are often cheaper on certain things than Fred Meyer.  It’s always random merch. such as hair dye, mascara, gum, shampoo, a bandana, a coat hanger…random little things that I usually buy one at a time.  Although poorly decorated, at least the K-Mart here is clean and organized and the people are helpful.  One major gripe, though, is they always push their Sears card on me, and the last time I was in there the cashier was akin to a used car dealer…

  • Chicky

    When I lived in South Florida there was this one K-Mart which seemingly no one ever visited.  It was also the cleanest, best stocked, trendiest K-Mart I’ve ever been in.  I used to shop there all of time for household goods, decor items, small appliances, and socks and undies.  Back home in NJ, I can’t say that our K-Marts are very clean or even have a decent selection. But, I will still go there from time to time for MS towels—Which are awesome.

  • Mary

    I was in NYC this weekend and I went into the K-Mart by Penn Station. I brought a pair of Jaclyn Smith sunglasses that I love! Kmart may have been eclipsed by Target but there were still plenty of people in the store on Saturday.

  • vixenlibra

    I hate KMart

  • Claudia

    Definitely a NAY for Kmart in terms of fashon. Now, let’s talk some Martha Stewart… 🙂

  • Jen

    Big nay on this one.  Though I dislike Walmart too; K-mart always smells like dirt to me, and like Walmart, all their pants seem to be built for ladies who have giant wide hips.  I would say they are ok for basics like layering shirts, but also like Walmart (and much of the Xhileration line at Target), many of the layering tees are made cheaply of low grade cotton in a large rib that just stretches out after a couple weeks.  About the only thing I’ve ever gotten from K-Mart that’s been worth the money is turtlenecks; their buyers seem to be on the ball when it comes to turtlenecks.

  • Tenacious

    I concur Kmart is a mess and the stores appear to be barely hanging on…but I happened upon the Attention line (sizes 4-18) at Kmart via an ad for a denim pantsuit @25% off. The items looked good but I thought the quality but would be iffy at best…I was wrong. The blazer was lined and the denim trouser pants were a good weight. I was so impressed I went back and picked up the matching denim skirt. Moreover, I received a notice of another sale on Attention therefore I went back and found a few things for fall (3 nice sweater turtlenecks, 2 pair of knit pants and a gray pantsuit w/ a lined jacket)for under $120…lovely! This line is the only one worth it’s salt and the only reason I purchased anything at Kmart! The rest of the clothing looks/feels cheap and poorly made including Jackie Smith IMO!

  • Definitely YAY. I found in K-mart some things from better stores but with K-mart labels and price. Also, K-mart sell great opaque hosiery (unfortunately, not so many colors), cotton T-shirts for adults and statement t-shirts for kids.

  • Great post!

    I am sure you will like my site.

    Cheryl Ann

  • Lamaura

    Yes you are kidding.  Here in Puerto Rico we have much better places to hang out than in a filthy K-Mart.  Nay to racist comments.

  • NAY!  Eons back on “America’s Next Top Model” they did a challange in a KMart where the models had to put together outfits and strut the runway. Everyone was all, “I didn’t know you could get such cute things in KMart,” but it was totally unconvincing. That stuff looks cheap and if you buy even simple tees, they fade and stretch after about 2 wears. And have you ever noticed how the dyes used on discount store clothes look cheap? It’s crazy! My opinion: Cheap stuff <i>isn’t</i> cheap because it doesn’t last and you’re stuck shelling out more cash to replace it. I’d buy second hand or on ebay. Plus, as much as I admire Martha Stewart’s line, I suspect with her Macy’s deal she’ll pull out of KMart soon enough.

  • cathy

    I consider K-mart to be a black hole of despair, so I go in there only a couple of times a year, and never to shop for clothes.  I used to go in to look for sheets, towels, etc—the Martha Stewart stuff—but found the whole experience to be such a drain that now I only go in if I have some kind of strange compulsion or if someone sends me a gift card.  I have a friend who knows I like to shop who once in a while sends me a gift card.  I can’t tell him no on K-mart, I don’t want to sound like a diva.  Okay, I must confess, I always scan the clothing section, accesories also, and once a in while buy something from Joe Boxer, the sad juniors sleepwear line.

  • I agree with Sharon.  Until Manhattan gets a Target (no time soon) KMart is a great alternative.  I’ve purchased pillows, rugs, cosmetics and socks there.  The service is, admittedly, not the best—I stay away from anything that requires delivery, special packaging, or customer service help.  But I don’t fault the store for that.  It’s simple economics:  “You get what you pay for.”  I don’t expect the same service at a diner as I do at Per Se.  So, yay to KMart.

  • Cammie

    I actually went to K-Mart this past Sunday looking for fitness equipment.  I ended up getting what I needed (resistance bands and a floor mat) alot cheaper than they were at Modell’s and the Sports Authority.

  • Beth

    A huge NAY for Kmart. I’d rather shop at Goodwill…at least there you expect the place to be dirty and the clothes to be hideous.

    I did know about the Kmart/Sears merger and honestly, I can’t stand to step foot in either one.

  • Elizabeth

    K-Mart is not a fashion destination. I like to think of it as a jumbo-sized drugstore that’s also ambitiously attempting to replicate the 1st and 2nd floor of a Macy’s, except with bargain clothing and jewelry. That said, K-Mart does have a robust collection of jeans and houses a healthy spread of casual tops and tees in cotton at agreeable prices. I shop there because of a convenient location, but when’s all said and done K-Mart isn’t a standout discount store.

  • Carmen

    Yay! I’ve found tons of very affordable good clothing there. The Dickies sweatshirts that my boyfriend and I wear daily are from K-mart and were only $6 each. My sears card works there too, which helps. I can never find normal clothes at Target; they always have uber stylish stuff that is not very practical for everyday wear. I also went to target in the middle of summer looking for a pair of jeans, none to be found in the women’s department. I love target but I don’t buy clothes there very often. I HATE Wal-Mart, not only because they employ illegal immigrants or sell flip flops that chemically burn your feet and then don’t take them off the shelves, but because they are too damn big! I have to walk a half a mile to get to the back of the store to find the one DVD for $5. There are strange people who stand WAY too close in the check out line and any store with a McDonalds in it is not a store I’m going to shop in, can we say tacky? Plus they have 200 cameras around their buildings, I feel like I’m asking for a close up shot if I’m wearing a low cut shirt. They don’t provide me with the shopping experience I get at K-mart. I buy everything at K-mart from shampoo to tank tops. The ones I shop at are always neat and tidy and they are never overcrowded like Wal-Marts are. Plus the lines are really short most of the time. I love K-Mart and they have stayed in business because they merged with Sears and Sears is never going out of business.

  • Nay. I can’t bring myself to buy fashion at any store with “mart” or “barn” in the name.

    ps. love the site’s new look!! congrats 🙂

  • Mia

    A big fat NAY on Kmart….but I must admit that you made me curious, so I had to check out their website.  And do you know what I found out?  Kmart is now owned by SEARS.  I for one was completely surprised by this, so I did a web search and discovered that Sears and Kmart merged in late 2004.  The merger was supposed to create a cross-population of brands, so that Kmart customers could now buy products such as Craftsman tools (perviously only available at Sears).  But if that was the intent, then Kmart isn’t doing a very good job in publicizing and capitalizing on that fact.

  • Tomike

    The Martha Stewart towels are nice. I got some for Xmas last year and they are so soft! I agree the Kmarts are mess and that’s why I rarely go there.

  • Sharon

    Target makes a lot of noise marketing but I haven’t seen them open a store in Manhattan (and their Atlantic Avenue store is as much of a mess as any KMart. It’s awful. Only the suburban-type stores in suburban-type settings are actually nice.), and WalMart doesn’t even come close to the city. So yeah, KMart.

  • Love the new blog redesign.  I’m okay with Kmart.  I like the Martha Stewart stuff and sometimes they have things that Target doesn’t.

  • Beth Sutker Crawford

    Every once in a while, forgetting my past experiences, I will venture into a K-Mart.  They never seem to have in stock what has been advertised, and nothing is marked.  The cashiers are all starting work that day, and spend most of the time calling for a manager to do a “void”.  I agree with you…stay away!

  • Caroline

    I like the 5 star Martha Stewart towels and sheets. On sale for $3 a bath towel? Hard to beat. I have tried Shabby Chic sheets from Target and am not pleased with the hand (even after a year’s laundering) and the wrinkling.

    The Martha Stewart kitchen items are good design as well.

    As for the clothes, are you kidding?

  • I like the new look! Very chic and simple.

  • Kelli

    The Martha Stewart Collection is the only reason I go to K-Mart. The towels and bedding are nice, and she has great Christmas stuff.

  • Rachel

    Nay for me I’ve not really ever shopped at k-mart.

  • annonymous

    Definate NAY … the only thing I ever go to K-Mart for is the Martha Stewart Dishes and silverware.  never the clothes which are cheap and unstylish.

  • Sheila

    Although I HAVE shopped at K-Mart for MS kitchen utensils, picture frames, etc. the chain “creeps me out” because all of the stores I have visited are dirty, with merchandize thrown around, etc.

  • Paula

    I do shop at Kmart, on occasion.  My daughter is 6.  I had to search high and low to find pants that fit her, much less look cute on her.  I finally found the brand Basic Editions at Kmart.  The bootleg jeans and bootleg knit pants fit her PERFECTLY.  They both wear very well.  I buy the knit pants in almost every color for her.  I also like the Basic Editions holiday dresses for girls.  They are simply cut (no hoochie girl here!) with a little embellishment my daughter loves.  Sometimes I like the BE summer dresses.  I don’t really like anything else in the girls dept.  Too hoochie or just plain cheap.
    Kmart has great sales on cosmetics, if I need any, and sunscreen. 
    They also have a very good toy department.  I find things there that I can’t find at Walmart, Target, ToysRUs.  Like a classic Big Wheel! 
    That’s about all I buy, though.