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Kmart Debuts <I>Urban Direct</I>

3 Feb, 2003 By: Hive News

Continuing its drive to capture ethnic markets, Kmart Corp. today unveiled Urban Direct, a new entertainment and lifestyle newspaper supplement that contains interviews, articles and product offerings that resonate within urban communities.

Following the launch of its Spanish-language newspaper publication, La Vida, Urban Direct launched Feb. 2, and is another key element of Kmart's multicultural marketing strategy, a spokesperson said.

The chain is struggling to emerge from bankruptcy by May. Over the last year it has been closing more than 600 stores, changing key executives and investigating questionable business practices of if former CEO and his staff.

Shortly after filing for bankruptcy protection, the company announced plans to build its foothold in African-American and Latino communities. The strategy is a response to retail analyst reports that the urban market is underserved and the customer base tends to be more loyal to their shopping destinations.

"We are proud to be the first major discount retailer to offer a weekly newspaper supplement that is designed to build a relationship with the urban consumer,” said Barbara J. Firment, SVP of advertising sales and in-store presentation. ”Urban Direct highlights special in-store promotions, relevant cultural information and a section featuring a Kmart employee of the month, to further demonstrate Kmart's dedication to this important market."

The initial distribution of a million copies of Urban Direct circulated in nine markets including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., East Brunswick, New Jersey, and Long Island, New York.

Urban Direct will be available as a wrap to Kmart's weekly newspaper advertising circular. The new publication will reach more than 2.7 million urban customers in the U.S. each month.

The insert features celebrity interviews and topical editorial content designed to “resonate with Kmart's African-American and urban consumers,” the spokesperson said. The publication's first cover features Grammy-award winning rap artist L.L. Cool J and its content includes information on Kmart's nationwide Black History Month campaign: "Celebrate the Journey."

Kmart stores have a presence in 288 of the 331 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the U.S.; a great majority of which, by nature of their population density and multicultural makeup, are considered urban markets.

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