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The New York Times this morning reports that Kmart is ramping up its back-to-school marketing efforts with commercials that are running early and often, trying to convince young people that it is a legitimate option for the fashions they need to own before returning to school.

Its success at doing so could have major implications for Kmart, which only recently completed its merger with Sears. The back-to-school season is second only to the Christmas holidays in terms of sales, which means that a strong August could suggest that the company has some long-term credibility; a bad back-to-school term, however, could confirm many analysts’ suspicions that Kmart is a dead retailer barely walking.
KC's View:
Kmart, it seems to us, has to succeed on a number of levels.

It has to communicate the right message in a way that is hip enough for kids without alienating parents.

It has to have the right merchandise, fashionable and priced appropriately.

And it has to have its supply chain issues straightened out so all the right merchandise is in the right place at the right time.

Which, for a company like Kmart, could be much like that guy on the old “Ed Sullivan Show” who used to spin a bunch of plates at the same time trying to keep them from falling.

(Memo to MNB readers who don’t know who Ed Sullivan is and who don’t understand the “spinning plates” metaphor: Keep it to yourself.)