Kmart to close

  • Jessica Else / The Garden Island

    The Lihue Big Kmart store will be closing in September 2018 according to a Thursday announcement from Sears Holdings Corporation. It will be the last of the Kmarts to close in Hawaii.

LIHUE — The Lihue Kmart only has about four months left before it closes for good, according to a Thursday decision by owner Sears Holdings Corporation.

The store, which opened in 1994, is one of 72 stores scheduled to close in early September.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to streamline the company’s operations and focus on our best stores, we have identified approximately 100 non-profitable stores,” Sears Holdings Corp. said in a statement. “We continue to evaluate our network of stores and will make further adjustments as needed or warranted.”

A spokesman said the number of employees affected by the closure isn’t yet available.

Shoppers leaving Kmart on Thursday expressed disappointment that the store is closing and wondered what it means for the next-door Kukui Grove Center.

“It’s sad. It’s so close, I live just up the street,” Maile Deguchi. “Who knows what they’ll put in there (after Kmart is gone), maybe a Target?”

The longtime Kmart shopper said she thinks the rise of online shopping has had a hand in the store closure.

“You can get stuff off Amazon for cheaper, sometimes,” Deguchi said. “We buy things online.”

On-island, Deguchi and her family bounce between Walmart and Kmart for clothing, toys, and household items.

“Walmart has lower prices, so there are some things I know that both of them carry and I’ll go to Walmart instead,” Deguchi said. “But, there’s better selection here (at Kmart) for clothes and toys. We bought a toys for my nephew’s birthday last night.”

Sears has closed five Kmart stores in Hawaii in the past two years, leaving only the Lihue Kmart and the Kailua-Kona location on Hawaii Island.

The closure of the Hawaii Island Kmart was announced and the liquidation process initiated last week, and the closure of the Lihue Kmart will end the retailer’s reign in Hawaii.

Sears Holdings representatives pointed customers to other Sears and Kmart locations to continue their shopping and employees in the same direction for continued work with the company.

“Eligible associates impacted by these store closures will received severance and will have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Kmart or Sears stores,” Sears representatives said.

While there are Sears locations on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island, there are none on Kauai.

Kmart, known for its blue light sales, saw sales fall 11.9 percent during the first quarter of 2018, with total revenues coming in at $2.9 billion compared to revenues of $4.2 billion in the first quarter of 2017.

About two-thirds of that decline is attributed to nationwide store closures.

“In a challenging quarter, we continued to focus on our strategic transformation, identifying additional opportunities to streamline operations and adjust inventory and operating expenses,” said Edward Lampert, chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings.

Looking forward, Lampert said Sears Holdings is exploring smaller store formats that will “blend brick and mortar and online experiences.”

“We believe these initiatives, among others, will help us strengthen the Company and better position it for the future,” he said.


Jessica Else, enviromnental reporter,can be reached at 245-0452 or at

  1. No_They_Didn't June 1, 2018 1:09 am Reply

    Really enjoyed K-Mart. I think most people shopping at K-Mart shared the same memories. 1994, Friday nights, football games, Vidinha stadium, 7:00 p.m., night outs. Of course it was you, why else are you happy with that scenario? 1994. Maybe someone else will come in. Like Island Burgers or Hard Rock Cafe. 12:00 a.m. closing. Friday & Saturday nights.

  2. No_They_Didn't June 1, 2018 1:21 am Reply

    I know what you want “guy.” I got up early too. 1960s Happy Days in Milwaukee, isn’t a far off scene. Drive thru inn in Kukui grove. Studying.

  3. Michael G. Ching June 1, 2018 4:15 am Reply

    It was nice having a competitor to Walmart. It was good having a choice in shopping. I hope another store like target comes to Kauai.

  4. harry oyama June 1, 2018 6:24 am Reply

    They also closed the last K-mart store in Kapolei last year. Going out of business sale and got some excellent bargains on fishing reels and tools.

  5. Palani June 1, 2018 6:28 am Reply

    That’s a real shame. Kmart was a good go-to place for inexpensive items. They had a lot of tourist trinkets for very little money. They also had the best price for Koloa Rum! I’ll miss it.

  6. LMat June 1, 2018 7:25 am Reply

    Kauai wants TARGET!!!!!

    1. Josh April 22, 2019 4:49 pm Reply

      Yes we really do need a Target on Kauai!!!!

  7. Reverend Malama Robinson June 1, 2018 8:20 am Reply

    A homeless resource Center and housing as modeled after St. Vincent DePaul in Eugene, Oregon and it will include a recycling center/training and employment opportunities to repurpose mattresses, electronics and other items…

  8. HaloHalo June 1, 2018 8:43 am Reply

    They aren’t bringing a Target here. That is going to be yet another building that will sit there empty until it deteriorates. So many empty buildings.

  9. MisterM June 1, 2018 9:43 am Reply

    Good riddance. Now tear down the rest of that eyesore mall.

  10. Howard Tolbe June 1, 2018 12:08 pm Reply

    That’s okay. The management and couple (one quit already) wasn’t that great. Before the one quitted, there were two sister in-laws who approached my wife and started to complain about one sister’s brother.
    To make a long story short, my wife went home and called the store manager. She told him about what had happen while she (my wife) was shopping and the two sisters in-law approaching her. The manager’s remark to my wife was, “what you want me to do? He’s the manager. His message that he sent to his employees was, “it’s okay to harass customers while they shop!”

  11. lumamahi mike June 1, 2018 4:14 pm Reply

    I always liked Sears, beat Woolworth’s. I shopped for clothes till they closed that part. I shopped Craftsman tools. Never walked down to K-Mart.

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