(January 22, 2002) -- KMart's ELB and NLB locations (2900 Bellflower Blvd. (photo right) & 5450 Cherry Ave.) opened for "business as usual" today as the company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection to reorganize itself.
In a written release, KMart's national headquarters said all 2,114 of its stores would be "open for business, with credit cards, gift certificates and store cards to be honored as usual" with completion of what the company called a "fast track reorganization" targeted for 2003.
The company said its decision to seek judicial reorganization was "based on a combination of factors, including a rapid decline in its liquidity resulting from Kmart's below-plan sales and earnings performance in the fourth quarter, the evaporation of the surety bond market, and an erosion of supplier confidence. Other factors include intense competition in the discount retailing industry, unsuccessful sales and marketing initiatives, the continuing recession, and recent capital market volatility."
KMart CEO Charles Conaway said: "We are committed and determined to complete our reorganization as quickly and as smoothly as possible, while taking full advantage of this chance to make a fresh start and reposition Kmart for the future. We deeply regret any adverse effect today's action will have on our associates, vendors and business partners. I also regret the impact of our filing on all Kmart shareholders, including many of our associates. But after considering a wide range of alternatives, it became clear that this course of action was the only way to truly resolve the Company's most challenging problems. I am confident that, with our tremendous resources and dedicated supplier and associate communities, Kmart will emerge from this process as a stronger, more dynamic, more profitable enterprise with a well-defined position in the discount retail sector."
The company said further information about Kmart's reorganization case is available at the following toll-free numbers: Associates - (877) 638-8856; Customers - (877) 475-6278; Vendors and Suppliers - (877) 453-5693.