These photos show why no one shops at Kmart anymore

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Kmart.
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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

Kmart was once one of America’s leading discount retailers.

But its sales have been tanking for years, and now it’s closing dozens of stores.

At its peak in 2000, Kmart raked in $37 billion in sales and had 2,156 stores.

Since then, Kmart’s sales have dropped 72% to $10 billion. It now has just 941 stores, with plans to close nearly 70 more by next month.

We went to a Kmart store in Richmond, Virginia, to find out why it’s losing customers.


The store looked giant from the outside, and the parking lot was busy.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

Walking inside, it’s impossible to see where this Kmart ends. It’s huge.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

First, I visited the apparel sections. It looked like the walls in the children’s clothing department could use some repairs.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

As I made my way over to women’s apparel, I encountered these abandoned shelves and carts in the middle of one of the store’s main aisles.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

Shoppers were forced to navigate their carts around the shelving.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

I also spotted a ton of empty displays throughout the store, like these metal racks.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

The women’s lingerie section was a mess.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

Dozens of packages were torn open.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

And there was another empty rack holding just a single pair of shorts.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

The store was full of clearance signs offering discounts of up to 50% off and deals like buy one, get one free on various items.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

The tidiest part of the entire store was this section devoted to Nicki Minaj merchandise. Everything appeared to be in order in this department …

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

… except for this display, which was clearly missing its merchandise.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

And this nearby shelving was bizarrely positioned right in the middle of a walkway.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

The home-goods section was in total disarray.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

Shelves overflowed with lamps, pillows, blankets, and more.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

Cardboard displays were haphazardly placed in aisles.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

And I found a number of abandoned carts …

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

… as well as forgotten ladders …

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

… and a misplaced mattress.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

I spotted at least one dozen employees throughout the store stocking shelves.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

But there was no one to be found at this register in the electronics section.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

In the men’s clothing department, I found some pants on the floor.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

And once again, I ran into some abandoned shelves blocking a walkway.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

I quickly realized that this was a theme in this store.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

I couldn’t escape them.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

As I weaved through the aisles, I was struck by the amount of boxes I found. A quarter of the store appeared to be made up of boxes.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

There were boxes clogging walkways …

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

… and boxes lining shelves …

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

… and boxes filling aisles.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

Many of the boxes were torn open.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

And some looked like they had suffered water damage.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

In the office-supplies section, envelopes were strewn on the shelves in no particular order …

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

… and binders were piled on top of each other.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

A section of neck pillows clearly needed some work.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

The makeup department was a mess.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

Many of the items looked like they had been opened.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

The milk and juice coolers were sparsely stocked and didn’t contain any milk.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

The dairy-products cooler was equally misleading, as it was full of beer and soda.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

While parts of the store were overflowing with merchandise, some areas were barren.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

Some displays were completely empty …

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

… while others were partially stocked.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

After touring this Kmart store, I can understand why the chain is struggling.

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson