Local Kmart surviving company woes

By Staff
STAYING OPEN Cashier Joanna Davis checks out Lisa Bates of Philadelphia at Meridian's Kmart. The company, struggling with bankruptcy, announced it would close six stores in Mississippi, but the Meridian store will remain open. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
March 13, 2002
While Kmart officials recently announced the planned closings of 284 stores nationwide including six in Mississippi the store manager of Meridian's store said his is still surviving.
One of the state's six cities that will lose a Kmart store is nearby Hattiesburg, which will lose its Super Kmart.
Kmart announced the planned closings of its nationwide stores last week as a part of its bankruptcy restructuring process. It expects to save around $550 million in savings in 2002 from the closings and nearly $45 million every year after that.
The nation's third-largest discount retailer currently operates more than 2,100 stores nationwide and employs more than 250,000 people 9 percent of those people lost their jobs in the recent cuts.
But Meridian has survived the first-round of closings, while experts expect another round of closings to be announced in the near future.
Mitchell said he started working at the Meridian Kmart in 1989 as the assistant store manager when the store first opened on South Frontage Road.
He said the local store has been affected more by the opening of the new Wal-Mart Supercenter which opened late last year about a half a mile down the road from Kmart.
New Orleans resident Bettye Johnston said she shops at Meridian's Kmart every time she drives through the city on her way to Demopolis, Ala. She said she's happy the Meridian store wasn't one of the ones that closed down.
While Mitchell admitted the recent opening of the new Wal-Mart Supercenter has affected his business, he said he welcomes the competition.

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