Online stores getting desperate – sign of downhill economy?

Downhill economy where are we headed with Kmart check cashingSort of along the same lines as yesterday’s Old German Bakery “cutback” of free coffee with purchase, I present you with a different perspective: Online desperation. Is this yet another sign of a downhill economy (i.e., writing on the wall?)

I don’t normally shop at Kmart (who actually bought Sears about a decade ago), because I associate them as being “cheap” and “low end.” But did you know that they are the third largest chain of “Department stores” behind Walmart and Target? However, even with around $15 billion in annual sales, their market cap is only around $5 billion (way behind biggies like Amazon [$170B], Walmart [$240B] and Target [$39B].) Even though they have well over 1,000 stores – is it possible that they’re on the edge of going under?

Well, I bought some Craftsman tools this past Christmas, and now I’m on the damn Kmart email list. And I was kind of blown away by the type of marketing they’re doing. Take a look:

Check cashing at Kmart

Who are they marketing to? Why does a department store need check cashing? I suppose they’re so desperate for your money – that they want to take the extra trip to the bank OUT of the equation.

I wonder what % of the people that get their checks cashed there actually shop as well.

Kmart Check Cashing

Layaway for under $50 items

Perhaps I don’t get out enough. Or have many friends in other parts of the country. But I’ve never heard of a single solitary person putting a $35 dollar bed spread on “layaway.”

How does that work? 75 cents a week for a year? Do people really do this? Why?

Kmart Layaway Dance for 35 dollar bed spreads

Leasing $250 TV sets

Here’s another one I don’t understand. Leasing an el cheapo $249 TV? You won’t even OWN it!

Plus, no credit check required. I guess people need to watch TV desperately that they’re willing to have debt hanging over their heads (regardless of how little?)

Kmart lease 249 dollar TV set

Maybe I’m missing something – and this is the way it always was (since I just started receiving emails). But it doesn’t sound too promising to me.