With the closure of the Kmart in Avenel, New Jersey, only three stores remain. Once a giant among retailers with 2,440 big-box stores spread across the U.S., the chain is now almost dead. WNDU's report from the clearance sale in Avenel is remarkably well-made and emotional, from the Fargoesque music to the comments of Michael Lisicky, who is nonetheless probably more sad about it than you: "these still dot the American landscape as carcasses… everybody went to Kmart whether you liked it or not."
The plain diagnosis: couldn't compete with Walmart on prices or Target on quality, and leadership was unable to find a sustainable place in the middle. The holding company formed to operate the last profitable stores in the bankrupted Sears/Kmart empire, Transformco, seems to be doing better with the remaining 200 or so Searses, though it closed down the last of its auto centers a few months ago.