Once a retail giant, Kmart nears extinction after closing |

AVENEL, NJ (AP) — The familiar sights and sounds are still there: the worn and faded floor tiles, the relentless beige-on-beige color scheme, the clothes and refrigerators of toddlers and just about everything else. the rest.

There’s even a canned recording that begins, “Attention Kmart shoppers,” except it’s to remind people of COVID-19 precautions, not to alert them to a flash sale on women’s lingerie like in the old days.

Yet many of the shelves are empty at the Kmart in Avenel, New Jersey, picked up by bargain hunters as the store prepares to close for good on April 16.

Once it closes, the number of Kmarts in the US, once more than 2,000, will shrink to three in the continental US and a handful of stores elsewhere, according to multiple reports, in a retail world now dominated by Walmart, Target and Amazon. .

The demise of the store in the middle-class suburb 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of New York City is the story of the death of discount department stores in a nutshell.

“You’re always thinking about it because stores are closing everywhere, but it’s still sad,” said cashier Michelle Yavorsky, who said she has worked at the Avenel store for two and a half years. “I will miss the place. A lot of people shopped here.”

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