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This is the 'new' Kmart

Kmart emerged from bankruptcy last week with $2 billion in exit financing, new stock and a new chairman — chief investor Edward Lampert, who owns more than 50 percent of the company.

In a promising note, Kmart last week also reported a marked improvement in its financial results for March (see story page 19).

In strategic terms, executives have repeatedly vowed to leverage Kmart's base of urban and ethnic neighborhood locations to create a differentiated market position from rivals Wal-Mart and Target. With that in mind, HTT sent editors to visit an archetypal store of each sort on May 7, Kmart's first full day out of bankruptcy.

A look at domestics departments in a Kmart store in the largely Spanish-speaking, blue-collar Miami neighborhood of Westchester and at Manhattan's Penn Station store revealed a common set of challenges: chronic out-of-stocks, many shelves filled with product that didn't match the shelf labels and confusing promotional tagging.

Those stories appear on pages 8 and 9.

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