In April, we shared news here at WBKR.com that Kmart had plans to close five stores in Kentucky this year.  And now, a new report from Business Insider suggests that employees of the company fear that many more stores will follow.  In fact, according to some folks who work for the brand, ALL Kmart stores may eventually be shut down.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

I stumbled across Hayley Peterson's Business Insider story this weekend as I was reading through internet news.  Stories about Kmart always catch my attention because we have two Kmart stores here in Owensboro and I've really never understood why.  Don't get me wrong, I pop in Kmart routinely and I have some friends who work for the company.  I just never understood how it made fiscal sense for Kmart to have two stores in the same town that are within a less-than-ten-minute drive from each another.

Here's what we know.  The Owensboro locations are two of 941 remaining Kmart stores and the chain has demonstrated a habit of closing its stores in recent memory.  In fact, Kmart has closed one-third of its locations over the last ten years.  And, earlier this year, the company unveiled an aggressive plan to close 68 more.

And, according to Ms. Peterson, many of the remaining 941 stores appear to be in the "midst of liquidation."  According to employees she interviewed, stores are being assigned phases- Phase 1 or Phase 2.  And those phases, according to company officials are part of a "path to profitability" plan.  But employees are pointing out some things that seem to coincide with those phases- reductions in worker hours, layoffs and stock room purges.

As reports of inevitable bankruptcy surface, it's important to note that Kmart has a history of bankruptcy and rebounding from it.  According to the company's official website, Kmart filed bankruptcy way back in 2002 and emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization 15 months later on May 6th, 2003.  And the site claims that the company continues to move forward with determination. "We have a good business plan, a strong core portfolio of stores, customer loyalty earned over many years, and the will to succeed. As Kmart continues to operate stores across the country, customers can be assured that their communities will always have a broad selection of top-quality products at exceptional values."

Let's hope, for the sake of Owensboro's two Kmarts (and other Kmart locations in the WBKR listening area), the store employees and devoted customers, that our Kmarts will indeed succeed and survive the rumors and closings that continue to plague the company.