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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Manhattan Penn Station Kmart

Manhattan Penn Station Kmart
250 W 34th Street, New York NY 10119

This multi-level 141 thousand square foot store, unique to Kmart in many ways, was the first store by Kmart in New York City, and opened in 1996. Perhaps it can be considered a "flagship" store, as in recent years Christmas toy promotions have been unveiled in front of this store in the busy pedestrian area. It sits in a prime location for office workers, commuters, and travelers as it includes entrances from the train/subway level at Penn Station and at street level. In the middle of this busy city, across from Madison Square Garden, the store was expected to generate $50-75 million a year in sales when it opened. There are cash registers at multiple entrances, and the store layout is obviously quite different from the average single-floor suburban Kmart. It is also interesting to note that Walmart and Target are now trying to expand into core urban areas, with Target also having multi-level stores, although oftentimes in a smaller footprint.

Photos above taken July 2005, below taken October 2011

The concourse level entrance from inside Penn Station includes the main entrance to the store and pharmacy (on the right), and a "convenience mart" entrance on the left that features its own cashier and tourist souvenirs and grab-and-go drinks.

A security guard is stationed at both this entrance and the street level entrance and occasionally asks to check receipts, although how effective this is at preventing shoplifting we are not sure.

The view of the "convenience mart" on the concourse level, which can remain open even when the main store is closed as it has a separate entrance to the concourse and the connector to the main store (shown above) can be closed.

Shopping carts, bag recycling, and greeting cards are on the left when entering from the concourse level.

On the concourse level are electronics, sporting goods, toys, seasonal, and foods; on the ground (street) level is mainly women's apparel; and the intermediate level has men's clothing and home fashions.

Some of the concourse level registers.

There is a cell phone kiosk at the entrance to the electronics section, which is "shelved in" with a single entrance/exit manned by a security guard.

One of the main aisles on the concourse level.

The entrance to the "shelved in" electronics section.

New Yorkers use pull carts a lot!

Odd for carts to be lined in the middle of a busy main corridor.

One of the several banks of escalators in the store. Signage could have been improved.

The middle level.

Computer kiosk. Unsure of whether anyone uses it frequently...

Softlines at the street level, which could almost pass for a nice department store given its floor to ceiling windows.

The registers at street level have a "single line" cash register setup in which everyone is the  same line and then whenever a cashier opens up the cashier (and an automated voice) yells for the next customer to proceed. Computer models show this is, in theory, much faster than each cash register having its own line.

Revolving door entrance optional. The floormats still have the old logo.

View from the street entrance, note the flat-screen TVs throughout the store that occasionally flash product or store ads.

Single line cashier system.

View from street level.

Perhaps the high visibility street level window display could be improved...


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