Some miserable SOB stole my hammock from our dock on the Russian River last week. (We spend Tues/Fri at SF; Fri/Monday at the Russian River.) On the way back to SF today we stopped at two places in Santa Rosa that we normally would not: the first, a large Kmart. The second, an equally large Wallmart. The reason that we don't normally shop at either of those two places has nothing to do with snobbery- it's simply that we do most of our shopping in or near SF during the week, and neither of those two stores have outlets nearby. Costco, thankfully, has an outlet in SF.
As it turned out neither of those stores had a replacement hammock, but to someone who was looking at the two stores with a fresh eye, it was impossible to not notice the difference: Kmart is among the walking dead: there were literally more employees than there were customers. Wallmart seemed to be doing just fine. To our eyes, both stores had pretty much the same types, quality and depth of merchandise, and were about equal in atmosphere. Yet Walmart is thriving; Kmart is all but dead.
I'm making an assumption here- always dangerous- that the pricing for most items in the two stores is fairly competitive. So why does one store live, and the other die?