retail news in context, analysis with attitude

USA Today reports that 1962 was the year that, for all practical purposes, mass discount retailing was born: "That was when Walmart, Target and Kmart were born, each with their distinctive style of low-price retailing. As the three celebrate their 50th anniversaries this year, they can take credit for much of the way bargain-obsessed America now shops."

The story goes on:

"Oddly enough, companies founded by Sam Walton, George Dayton and Sebastian Kresge all gave the concept of a high-volume store with lower-price merchandise a try in the same year. Odder still, it was S.S. Kresge's Kmart -- the now-beleaguered of the trio -- that set the standards for discount retailing that the others built upon.

"Kmart expanded the fastest of the three, growing to hundreds of stores by the mid-'70s, vs. a few dozen Targets and Walmarts. Kmart's rapid growth and hugely popular Blue Light Specials made it an early leader."
KC's View:
The amazing thing is that when Kmart opened its first supercenter, that store was vastly superior to the supercenters being opened by Walmart. The difference is that Walmart stuck with it and got better, while Kmart collapsed under the weight of mismanagement and poor infrastructure.