Kmart to put Sears name on 400 stores after merger

Kmart Holding Corp. announced plans Wednesday to convert more than a quarter of its stores to a Sears format following its merger with Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Troy-based Kmart disclosed the plans on the same day that it posted a $309 million profit for the fourth quarter, a 14% increase over the previous year. The retailer also said sales at stores open at least a year continued to fall, though at a much lower rate than they had been.

Kmart, which currently operates 1,480 stores, revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it plans to convert about 400 Kmarts to Sears Essential stores. The company said these stores will combine high-end Sears products such as appliances, tools, and home electronics with convenience items such as health and beauty items, snacks and pet supplies. It also could provide a good venue to add well-known Kmart brands, such as Martha Stewart Everyday, to the Sears product mix.

Kmart and Sears shareholders are due to meet March 24 at Sears’ headquarters outside of Chicago to approve Kmart’s acquisition of the department store chain, first announced in November. The $11 billion deal will create the nation’s third-largest retailer.

Kmart, which currently operates 1,480 stores, revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it plans to convert about 400 Kmarts to Sears stores over the next three years.

The company didn’t specify what kind of Sears stores they would be, but they likely would fit the new Sears Essentials concept for mid-size, stand-alone stores unveiled in February, the AP reports. Sears said then that it would convert 25 of the 50 stores it acquired from Kmart several months before the merger announcement into that format. The company previously had announced plans to turn three of the acquired Kmarts into Sears Grand stores, a similar off-mall concept, only bigger.