News Briefs


Kmart will soon be down to only two stores nationwide


To call Kmart a shadow of its former self is a gross understatement.

The former powerhouse discounter, which once operated more than 2,000 stores nationwide, will close its store at Westwood Plaza in Westwood, N.J., this fall, reported The closing will leave Kmart with only two brick-and-mortar locations nationwide, with one in Miami and another in Brideghampton, N.Y.  (The company also operates an e-commerce site.)

The upcoming Westwood closure follows multiple Kmart closings across the New York metro area in recent years. In July 2021, the retailer shuttered its nearly 25-year-old location in Manhattan, on Broadway at Astor Place. Wegmans Food Market will open its first Big Apple location on the site this fall.

The decline of Kmart has been slow but steady.   In 2005, it merged with Sears, creating Sears Holdings, with a total of about 3,500 stores. At the time, however, both brands were already in decline and closing stores, failing to keep up with changing shopper behaviors and such fast-moving competitors as Walmart and Target. The growing dominance of Amazon and other online competitors only hastened their downward spiral.

In 2018,  Sears Holdings, filed for bankruptcy. It emerged in early 2019  when its CEO, Eddie Lampert, secured a roughly $5 billion deal using his hedge fund ESL to buy the retailer’s assets out of court. The deal kept about 400 Sears and Kmart locations up and running under a new private entity, which is now called Transformco.  

According to various reports, there are only 11 Sears stores left in operation nationwide. Similar to Kmart, Sears operates an e-commerce site.


Sam’s Club to open 300,000-sq.-ft. DC in Oklahoma

Sam’s Club will open a DC in Oklahoma City in 2024.

Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart Inc., is expanding its distribution network.

The warehouse club retailer will open a multi-purpose distribution center in Oklahoma City, Okla., in early 2024. The 300,000-sq.-ft.  facility will be located at the OKC Logistics Park. Sam’s Club  plans to make a capital investment of approximately $40 million to open the facility.

“We’re excited to enhance our supply chain capabilities in the State of Oklahoma,” said Joseph Godsey, chief supply chain officer of Sam’s Club. “We are on a journey to transform the entire Sam’s Club supply chain through strategic expansion and cutting-edge automation. This investment will help us provide a better experience for our members in the speed and availability of our products.” 

Local officials applauded the investment. Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said the new facility joins a growing distribution corridor in southwest Oklahoma City. Walmart is the state’s largest employer, with more than 35,000 jobs across Oklahoma.

“We are excited to extend our long-term partnership with Walmart and Sam’s Club to include this new distribution center,” Holt said. “Oklahoma City’s population continues to grow and as both our city and the company expand, we look forward to working together.”

Sam’s Club operates nearly 600 clubs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.



Wawa tests all-digital store format in Philadelphia


Wawa has unveiled a store with no shelves.

The convenience store retailer has transformed its store at 3300 Market St. in Philadelphia’s University City neighborhood into an all-digital experience. All products (with one exception) must be ordered on in-store touchscreens or via Wawa’s mobile app, with the orders  filled by in-store employees.  Coffee, however, remains self-serve.

The format is designed to be a faster and more efficient. It will not result in the elimination of any jobs at the store, which is located near Drexel University and open 24/7, Wawa told the Philadelphia Business Journal.

The test store comes as Wawa is expanding into new markets. In May, the company broke ground on its first store in the state of North Carolina. In December, Wawa said that its long-term expansion plans include the launch of its first-ever stores  in the states of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, along with  the previously announced state of Tennessee. 

Wawa stores are located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C. with more than 1,000 locations to date.



CVS Health to cut 5,000 jobs

CVS Health store

Layoffs are coming to CVS Health.

The pharmacy giant is cutting about 5,000 jobs as it looks to reduce costs and increase its focus on healthcare services. The cuts represent less than 2% of CVS’ total workforce, which was made up of approximately 300,000 employees at the end of 2022.  The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

In a statement to Chain Store Age sister publication Drug Store News,  CVS said it does not expect the cuts will have any impact on its customer-facing colleagues in its stores, pharmacies, clinics or customer services centers.

“We do not anticipate there will be any impact to our clients and customers as we remain focused on our mission – continuing to provide the exceptional care and support our customers, patients and communities deserve and depend on,” the statement said. “Throughout our company’s history, we’ve continuously adapted to market dynamics to lead the industry. The difficult decision we are making will set the company up for long-term success."

CVS has increased its focus on the home health space in recent years. In March 2023, it completed its approximate $8 billion acquisition of Signify Health.  And in February, it entered into a deal to Oak Street Health in a deal valued at approximately $10.6 billion. Oak Street operates primary care centers that service people with Medicare Advantage plans,

CVS has more than 9,000 retail stores and 1,100 walk-in clinics nationwide.


Q2 sales, earnings jump at Publix

Publix’s second-quarter sales rose 8.9% to $14.1 billion.

Publix Super Markets reported another strong quarter during which its net earnings rose nearly 75%. 

Net earnings rose 74.7% to $1.1 billion for the quarter ended July 1, compared to $628 million in the year-ago quarter.  Earnings per share increased to $0.33 per share, up from $0.18 per share in 2022.

Excluding the impact of net unrealized gains on equity securities in 2023 and net unrealized losses on equity securities in 2022,  adjusted net earnings would have been $1 billion, compared to $896 million in 2022, an increase of 16.3%. Earnings per share would have been $0.31 per share, compared to $0.26 per share in 2022.

Sales rose 8.9% to $14.1 billion, up from $12.9 billion in 2022. Comparable store sales for the three months increased 6.2%

Publix’s sales for the six months ended July 1, were $28.4 billion, an 8.6% increase from $26.2 billion in 2022. Comparable store sales for period. increased 6.3%.

Effective Aug. 1, 2023, Publix’s stock price decreased from $14.97 per share to $14.75 per share. (Publix stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to current Publix associates and members of its board of directors.)

“As we enter the last half of the year, our associates remain focused on operational excellence and providing premier customer service,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “I’m so thankful to serve with them in making shopping at Publix a pleasure.”

Publix, the largest employee-owned company in the U.S. with more than 250,000 associates, currently operates 1,346 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.



T-Mobile expanding with 12 new stores — here are the locations

T-Mobile is expanding its store footprint in North Carolina.

 T-Mobile is ramping up its retail presence in North Carolina.

The company plans to open 12  stores across the state during 2023 and 2024. Seven stores have already opened, with the other five expected to open in coming months. (Locations at end of article.) Last year, T-Mobile opened eight retail stores in the Tar Heel state.

“North Carolina is one of the states where T-Mobile is growing fast and focused on establishing a stronger presence in both smaller and more rural communities,” said John Stevens, VP for T-Mobile’s small markets & rural areas. “In some of these areas we’re opening our doors for the first time, which will bring us closer to our customers and businesses and allow us to tap skilled local workforce.”

With an expanding local presence in North Carolina, T-Mobile is also focused on helping to make a difference in communities throughout the state. Programs such as T-Mobile Hometown Grants provide funding to 100 small towns each year to use towards city beautification projects, public improvements and more. 

Through T-Mobile’s education programs, the company has connected over 43,000 students, from 44 school districts across North Carolina, and is also offering school districts free and heavily subsidized data plans and access to affordable laptops and tablets.

The new stores will be opening in the following locations:

  • Albemarle;
  • Fayetteville; (Opened January 2023)
  • Goldsboro; (Opened in June 2023)
  • Havelock; (Opened in June 2023)
  • Hickory; (Opened in July 2023)
  • Hillsborough;
  • Hendersonville;
  • Jacksonville; 
  • Leland;
  • Marion;
  • Newton; and

Rockingham (Opened March 2023).