Jan. 13, 2003
TROY, Mich. -- U.S. retail giant Kmart Corp. announced on Jan. 14, it will close 326 of its current 1,830 stores. According to published reports, between 30,000 and 35,000 positions will be terminated.
Kmart filed Chapter 11 last January but hopes to emerge from bankruptcy by April 30.
How many Little Caesars Pizza Stations may be shuttered as a result of the closures is not yet known. According to Lisa Cosnowski, vice president of corporate communication at Detroit-based Little Caesars, "Kmart has not announced that to Little Caesars. We just don't have that information yet."
When Kmart shuttered 284 stores early last year, 98 Little Caesars in-store sites closed. (See "Kmart closures to affect 98 Little Caesars.")
Kmart's 2002 bankruptcy filing reported a debt of $5 million to Little Caesars and its foodservice subsidiary, Blue Line Distributing.
In July Little Caesars, the world's fourth-largest pizza chain, told Crain's Detroit Business it wanted to continue its relationship with the struggling retailer despite its uncertain future (See "Little Caesars is 'optimistic' Kmart will survive"). The two companies were negotiating a possible extension to operations contracts between the two that were to expire last August.
Cosnowski said the negotiations are ongoing, but "we're not really in a position to talk about that right now."
Little Caesars is a privately held entity of Little Caesar Enterprises, which rarely discloses details about the pizza chain or its other companies. Published reports estimate the number of Little Caesars Pizza Stations still operating to be about 400.
States hit particularly hard by the closures are Texas (54), Florida (25), California (19) and North Carolina (18).