Kmart's "Blue Light Special" – Boy, do I remember those days

Do you remember the good old days of Kmart’s “Blue Light Special”? It was an iconic tradition that captured the attention of shoppers everywhere. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore the history of Kmart and its famous sales promotion.

The Birth of Kmart

Kmart, originally known as the S.S Kresge Company, was founded in 1899 by Sebastian Spurling Kresge. After working with another retail giant, John McCrory, Kresge struck out on his own and became the sole owner of his stores. In the following years, Kresge expanded his business and built multiple stores across eight cities.

Enter the Discount Market

It wasn’t until 1962 that Kmart made its mark on the retail scene. Harry Cunningham, a retail pioneer, opened the first full-sized Kmart in Michigan. Inspired by a Rhode Island-based store called Anne and Hope’s, Cunningham and Sam Walton, the founders of Walmart, saw the potential of the large-scale discount market.

The “Blue Light Special”

In 1965, Kmart introduced the famous “Blue Light Special” to grab the attention of shoppers. This special promotion involved a blue light shining down on selected products that were on sale. To alert shoppers, the announcement “Attention Kmart Shoppers” blared over the loudspeaker. It created a sense of excitement and urgency, making every visit to Kmart an adventure.

Kmart’s Rise to Success

Kmart’s popularity skyrocketed, and by 1976, they achieved a historic milestone. They opened 271 stores in just one year, totaling a staggering 17 million square feet of sales space. No other retailer had accomplished such a feat before. Kmart became synonymous with quality and even partnered with celebrities like Jaclyn Smith and Martha Stewart to endorse their products.

A Name Change

Such success couldn’t go unnoticed, and in 1977, the S.S. Kresge Company changed its name to Kmart Corporation. This name change reflected Kmart’s dominance and the fact that nearly 95 percent of the company’s sales were generated by its stores.

Reliving the Memories

While times have changed, and the retail landscape has evolved, the memories of Kmart’s “Blue Light Special” continue to linger. It was a time when shopping was more than just picking up items – it was an experience, a chance to hunt for the best deals beneath the glow of the blue light.

Let’s cherish those memories and celebrate the history of Kmart, a pioneer in the world of large-scale discount retail. As time goes on, the legend of the “Blue Light Special” lives on in the hearts of those who experienced its magic.

To take a trip back in time, check out this video showcasing the excitement of Kmart’s “Blue Light Special”: