Close
 

An ode to Kmart: the glorious retail store filled with everything you didn’t know you wanted

  • Opinion
  • April 8, 2016
  • Elly Strang
An ode to Kmart: the glorious retail store filled with everything you didn’t know you wanted

I have a confession to make: despite writing for a retail publication, I secretly really, really hate malls. See, I’m one of these feared Millennial ‘purposeful’ shoppers who only set foot in a shopping centre if I have my journey mapped out in my mind from entry to exit. Dawdling down mall corridors perusing shop windows fills me with a sense of anxiety.

However, I can only go so long without entering a mall. Like any normal, functioning human being, I sometimes have to stock up on big-kid stuff like deodorant or makeup.

While I’m walking around, getting anxious and feeling my soul being slowly sucked out of me, I spot my saviour. There, glowing angelically like the McDonald’s golden arches in a drunk person’s hazy vision, is the red and blue Kmart logo. It grabs my attention and beckons me towards it.

When I walk through Kmart’s doors, it inexplicably has the same effect on me as walking into East Day Spa. There’s fewer expensive scented candles and chandeliers, and more fluorescent lighting, but the serenity is the same.

Unlike other stores, I don’t even mind the blindingly bright lights – I embrace them. Full visibility of all the various departments? Hell yeah!

It seems like I’m not alone in this inexplicable love of Kmart, either. When I was at my friend’s flat getting ready to go out to town last Saturday night, some of the flatties were simultaneously heading out to Kmart at 10:30pm. A trip to its store was a bunch of 20-something’s ideal Saturday night. What? How?

Despite big retail brands often copping abuse from the public, Kmart basks in this warm glow of unbridled love and affection, particularly from young consumers. It can do no wrong. There are even memes made in its honour, which is a great benchmark for telling a company it's made it.

It’s quite the turnaround story. If you went back five or ten years ago, Kmart was nowhere near as relevant a brand with the New Zealand public.

Now, it may as well rename itself Gloriavale, as customers have almost formed a cult, they’re so into it.

To try to figure out this phenomenon, I asked co-workers and Facebook friends why some people love Kmart more than their first-born.

“Late night shopping,” said one. “The most meaningful conversations occur in the aisles when lost in the Kmart labyrinth. The sweet smell of faux Tupperware is surprisingly therapeutic.”

“Also, it might offer the best nightlife in New Zealand,” they added. “Long after the city has gone to sleep, you can still be sure to find a single, ridiculously long—but surprising fast-moving—queue at Kmart.”

It’s true – Kmart’s stores nationwide are open until midnight, seven days a week. Sudden urge to redecorate your room at 11:00pm on a Friday night? Don’t worry, Kmart’s got you.

Fancy shopping for some underwear while the rest of your neighbourhood sleeps? Kmart’s staff will welcome you with open arms late on a Tuesday night.

The other point of difference that seemed to stick out was its range of products and their value.

“I like Kmart for the $10 bras, but not for the children that climb under the changing rooms while you're trying them on,” said one co-worker, while another said, “You can buy everything in one shop, for very low prices. Come for a rubbish bin and a bathmat, stay for the shark-shaped dog hoodies and knickers with the Milky Way laser-printed on.”

There was also a shout out to the scented candle aisle, which someone said definitely ranks in the top ten best smelling public places in New Zealand.

Others complimented its homeware section, which they said is very on trend, great quality and often a “classier” option than shopping at other discount department stores.

Some other stores’ products had reputations of breaking, they said, but Kmart’s seemed to never break. Plus, the turnover of stock was constant and consistent to keep up with trends.

One person even compared what Kmart’s doing with its homeware as similar to Ikea does globally, as it’s “designer styled furniture/homewares at stupid prices”.

Perhaps most worryingly - one person went as far as to say Kmart made him “tingle”. 

So it seems the Australian-founded store, with its late hours and labyrinth of aisles filled with well-merchandised, good value, trendy goods, has cemented its place in New Zealand customers’ hearts – and pants.

Take note of its success, fellow retailers: as the meme says, one does not simply purchase only one item at Kmart.

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

 

Readings present revised plan for Courtenay Central

  • Property
  • May 16, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Readings present revised plan for Courtenay Central

The company that owns Courtenay Central in Wellington says it has big plans for redeveloping the complex - which is closed due to earthquake risks.

Read more
 
 

How to tell if you're a born retailer

  • Opinion
  • May 16, 2019
  • David Farrell
How to tell if you're a born retailer

Retail is a profession, but true retailers are born not made, says Dave Farrell.

Read more
 
 

Sustainable soap wrapper among major winners at Pride In Print Awards

  • Opinion
  • May 15, 2019
  • Sue Archibald
 Sustainable soap wrapper among major winners at Pride In Print Awards

A sustainable, heat sealed soap wrapper that is claimed to saving tonnes of PET plastic film, petrochemical wax and glue from landfill each year, has won a major award in the Pride In Print industry awards. Sue Archibald, Pride in Print Awards manager, shares more.

Read more
 

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

 
topics
Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Sisterhood
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...
 

Inside Little Yellow Bird’s equity crowdfunding campaign

  • News
  • May 15, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Inside Little Yellow Bird’s equity crowdfunding campaign

Wellington social enterprise Little Yellow Bird is seeking to scale its ethical apparel operation to the next level with an equity crowdfunding campaign.

Read more
 
 

Auckland design agency wins gold for retail packaging

  • News
  • May 14, 2019
  • Courtney Devereux
Auckland design agency wins gold for retail packaging

As a benchmark for impeccably designed packaging of consumer products, The Dieline Awards this year saw creative agency Onfire walk away with recognition for fantastic design for their retail products. We spoke with Matt Grantham, creative director at Onfire Design, about the importance of a strong visual brand in the retail product sector.

Read more
 

BYO containers policy live from June 1 at Foodstuffs stores

  • News
  • May 14, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
BYO containers policy live from June 1 at Foodstuffs stores

Customers at Foodstuffs supermarkets’ instore butchery, seafood counter, delicatessen and bakery will be able to have food packed into their own clean, leak-proof containers from June 1.

Read more
 
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise
The Register

editor@theregister.co.nz

Content marketing/advertising? Email anita.hayhoe@icg.co.nz or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit

}