What's To Love About Kmart
Photo: Cosmic Kitty
Kmart isn't perfect. Compared to its mass-merchant counterparts, its merchandise selections are generally slimmer and prices higher. And, its retail execution can be sloppy (apparently coupons need to be presented with correlated products, like in the olden days, rather than matched with products by the point-of-sale system based on barcode technology; see Linsey's post, a shopper's recommendation on how to present coupons at Kmart, and an industry article mention that most large retailers in the U.S. adopted coupon-product matching technology in the 1990s). But, with a Kmart store close to me and congested drive to Target or Wal-Mart, I have discovered what to love about Kmart. Here are the bargains I've found.
Joe Boxer socks
These are incredibly comfortable and durable socks. While other socks wear thin, Joe Boxer’s retain their thick, soft fabric. Other socks get holes; Joe Boxer remains hole-less. My son, who is generally oblivious to brand names (he once asked who the heck Tommy Hilfiger was, after seeing the name emblazoned on his classmates’ clothing), asks for this store brand. The underwear is made nicely as well.
Basic Editions shorts and pants
I’ve been buying these shorts and pants for years now. They are reasonably well-made and though I don’t think they would last forever, the clothing has lasted for the wear-time of my kids. I can often find these items on sale before the season ends, and recently bought a few pairs of pants for 40% off ($5.99 per pair); while I can sometimes find better bargains at children’s clothing consignment sales, being able to find inexpensive clothing in my children’s sizes nearly anytime is helpful. At the end of each season, I have picked up shorts for just a couple of dollars and, if needed, saved them for the next year; the loose fit and consistent sizing make the shorts easy to buy ahead and use later. (See this post on holding a children's clothing consignment sale, a great community fundraiser)
I have also bought ladies’ clothing made under the Basic Editions label for myself.
Route 66 jeans
These are well-constructed jeans; the shirts are also well-made and durable.
Licensed t-shirts and sweatshirts
Affinity wear is something I can live without but it is nice to have a t-shirt and sweatshirt emblazoned with the names of my favorite teams, especially during basketball season. Having shopped at campus stores and frequented websites dedicated to team sports, I have found that Kmart’s tees, especially in the men’s department, are a pretty good deal. A nice t-shirt there will often run 50% less than similar ones at specialty shops. And, though my kids typically don’t like getting clothes for Christmas, they love getting clothes with the UNC Tar Heels logo.
There’s nearly always a shoe sale at Kmart, usually a buy one, get one 50% off. If you have children or are generally need 2 pairs of shoes at one time, rather than just one pair, this arrangement is a good deal. When my kids were younger and changing shoe sizes fairly often (it seems like every 3 to 6 months), shoes for Kmart were perfect: they wore out about the time I needed to replace them. Since then, I’ve had mixed results: some shoes have lasted a year or so; one pair, though, seemed to fall apart within a few days. I should mention though that I’ve had the same problem with name-brand, pricier shoes.
I’ve also bought shoes at Kmart for myself. My Cobbie Cuddlers have been reliable and comfortable shoes for a few years now. I’ve also noticed that Kmart carries shoes by Thom McAn, a brand that I remember considered trustworthy from my childhood.
While I’d rather buy things that last forever, I’ve also paid a premium, even at sale prices, for clothing and shoes that I thought would last forever but didn’t. Getting a decent life on some everyday basics is nice.
Are there any great items that you buy at Kmart?
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