The Last Kmart in Phoenix - Retail Archaeology on YouTube

By Adam Pawlus — Monday, September 18, 2017

So Kmart isn't doing well - in Phoenix, most of them have slowly closed and become other things - furniture stores, indoor go-karts, or sad husks. The last open store is on the I-17 and Northern, currently going through its death throes. I was there last week on my birthday toy run, and the toy department had been collapsed with the former toy department being empty shelving for sale. It looked far better in July, when the YouTube account Retail Archaeology made this lovely video.

Semi-related, Toys R Us announced it'll file for some sort of bankruptcy this week, which doesn't necessarily mean it's going out of business. In the 1990s, Kmart was part of what Hasbro called its "top five" - Target, Kmart, Kay-Bee Toys, Toys R Us, and Walmart - who made up 85ish percent of the American toy business market. Kay-Bee closed in the late 2000s, with Kmart not officially out of business, but dozens of store closures are announced every couple of months. (The rest of the toy market was often referred to, at Hasbro, as "market six." Mattel referred to the other stores as "alternative channels" or "alt channel" stores.)

The loss of Kmart over time has been supplanted by growth in Amazon and online toy sellers like Entertainment Earth (where I work), plus increases - albeit small ones - at the likes of Walgreens and increasingly GameStop. And JC Penny has a toy section again this year, probably right now at a store near you.

If you've got a Kmart near you, take a stroll through it - here in Phoenix, we're fast approaching our last chance.