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Aussies call on Kmart to return old store layouts with front registers

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 10/27/2020 Cindy Tran for Daily Mail Australia
a group of people standing in front of a store: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Nostalgic shoppers have called on Kmart to bring back its old store layouts with cash registers at the entrance after pictures emerged on social media showing what the retailer looked like before the modern overhaul.

Brendan, a Kmart shopper, recently shared photographs of the Sylvania store in southern Sydney, one of the last few Kmart stores that still have cash registers at the front after 165 shops out of a total of 231 across Australia and New Zealand were converted.

'Kmart Sylvania is still rocking the old late-1990s era vibes. It's probably one of the last unfurnished (non-central checkout) stores in Sydney,' Brendan wrote in Old Shops Australia Facebook group.

The refurbished stores have since ditched the age-old tradition of paying on the way out after placing the cash registers and self-serve checkouts in the centre of the shops in a drastic modern makeover.

After the story emerged last week, hundreds of Daily Mail Australia readers called on the department chain to return stores back to how they were.

a group of people sitting at a station: Nostalgic shoppers have called on Kmart to bring back its old store layouts with cash registers at the entrance after pictures emerged on social media showing what the retailer once looked like in the 90s and early 2000s (picture of the old layout) © Provided by Daily Mail Nostalgic shoppers have called on Kmart to bring back its old store layouts with cash registers at the entrance after pictures emerged on social media showing what the retailer once looked like in the 90s and early 2000s (picture of the old layout) a group of people standing in front of a store: The refurbished stores have since ditched the age-old tradition of paying on the way out after placing the cash registers and self-serve checkouts in the centre of the shops (picture of the new layout) in a drastic modern makeover © Provided by Daily Mail The refurbished stores have since ditched the age-old tradition of paying on the way out after placing the cash registers and self-serve checkouts in the centre of the shops (picture of the new layout) in a drastic modern makeover

How much Kmart has changed over the years

Up to 165 Kmart shops out of a total of 231 stores across Australia and New Zealand stores have been converted over the past couple of years.

The refurbished shops now have cash registers and checkouts in the middle of the stores instead of the entrance.

The old layouts featured a photo lab and a garden centre, whereas the homeware aisles are now the star attraction of the retailer today.

'Much much better back then. They were stocked much better too. Those were the days when you could find almost anything at Kmart unlike now,' a reader wrote on Facebook.

One said: 'The old layout was better than queuing up again just to get your bags checked so you can get out of the door after you have already paid for your stuff. Makes no sense.

Another said: 'I loved the old lay out, much better than the new one! Bring the old stores back I say,' while another wrote: 'Does anyone actually like the new layout? I know personally I hate it, registers should be at the front of the stores.' 

'Change it back. I miss actual checkouts at the doors with staff. I would honestly shop there more often if it was more personable.'

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Kmart for comment.

Most said they prefer paying for their items on the way out of the store, while others insisted the old layout offered a 'much better shopping experience'.

'Preferred the layout before to the change of what they have now. Hate paying in middle because I can guarantee when walking out, I'll spot something else I like,' one shopper said.

a screen shot of a store: Brendan captured pictures of the Sylvania outlet in southern Sydney showing how much the retailer has changed over the years (picture of the photo processing area in the old store) © Provided by Daily Mail Brendan captured pictures of the Sylvania outlet in southern Sydney showing how much the retailer has changed over the years (picture of the photo processing area in the old store) a group of people standing in front of a store: Most admitted they prefer paying for their items on the way out of the store, while others insisted the old layout offered a 'much better shopping experience' (picture of shoppers paying for the items at the front of the store in Sydney in 2019) © Provided by Daily Mail Most admitted they prefer paying for their items on the way out of the store, while others insisted the old layout offered a 'much better shopping experience' (picture of shoppers paying for the items at the front of the store in Sydney in 2019)

Another claimed: 'Hate the new layout! Made the mistake of putting my receipt in my purse at center checkout and then treated like shoplifter leaving the store as I didn't have receipt with my purchase.


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And one added: 'I miss the old Kmart. It felt cheap, but I knew where everything was. Now I feel like I'm in a maze-like Wonderland with no idea where I am or where I'll end up.'

Others claimed they have noticed a massive congestion in the middle of the store since the retailer introduced centralised cash registers.

'Bring back the old stores, I don't like the new ones. We now have massive congestion at the registers in the middle blocking the aisles instead especially at the busy times which is harder to shop,' one shopper wrote.

And another added: 'I hate the registers in the middle... definitely prefer them at the entrances. I'm sure there was a better way to ease "congestion" than to place them in the centre.'

a group of people standing in front of a store: The old layout of the Sylvania store (pictured) hasn't undergone a refurbishment - and shoppers can still pay for their products at the cash registers at the entrance © Provided by Daily Mail The old layout of the Sylvania store (pictured) hasn't undergone a refurbishment - and shoppers can still pay for their products at the cash registers at the entrance a group of people in a store: The Sylvania Kmart store in southern Sydney still has its photo centre where shoppers can go to print their pictures from just 10 cents each © Provided by Daily Mail The Sylvania Kmart store in southern Sydney still has its photo centre where shoppers can go to print their pictures from just 10 cents each

While many shoppers called on retailer to bring back its iconic Holly's Café, which were located inside every Kmart store in Australia in the 80s and 90s.

'Prefer the old layout and they should bring back Holly's cafe and garden centre, best part of Kmart,' one woman wrote.

Another said: 'I miss how they used to have a cafe in store so you could shop and have a coffee and pancakes, I was really little when they had this.

One suggested: 'Westfarmers need to re-introduce Holly's Café, they were so good and I'm sure they would still be popular especially in the right areas.

And another woman added: 'I remember going to the Kmart café with my parents as they both worked in retail and they had the best chips and gravy. Bring back the Kmart café.'

The comments come just days after a shopper took pictures of the Sylvania Kmart store, which still has its iconic photo centre where shoppers can go to print their pictures from just 10 cents each. 

a group of people standing in front of a shop: Vintage photographs show shoppers relaxing at Kmart's Holly's Café, with one woman (far right) appearing to smoke at her seat while chatting away to her friend. Holly's Cafés were located inside every Kmart store in the 80s and 90s © Provided by Daily Mail Vintage photographs show shoppers relaxing at Kmart's Holly's Café, with one woman (far right) appearing to smoke at her seat while chatting away to her friend. Holly's Cafés were located inside every Kmart store in the 80s and 90s a group of people sitting at a table in a restaurant: The retailer chain allowed its customers back in the 90s and 80s to take a break from shopping and enjoy meals at its in-store cafes across the country © Provided by Daily Mail The retailer chain allowed its customers back in the 90s and 80s to take a break from shopping and enjoy meals at its in-store cafes across the country

Dozens of shoppers said the pictures brought back many memories, while many agreed they prefer the front door registers over the 'ridiculous' checkouts at the centre of the refurbished stores.

'Central checkouts are the worst idea ever... people automatically go to the front of store to pay. Now every bag on the way out has to be checked,' one man wrote.

A second man said: 'This is how it should be - the checkouts in the middle of the store is stupid,' while another added: 'I don't really like the central checkouts.'

Many pointed out the 'traditional' layout made it easier for shoppers to find the products compared to the modern shops.

A Kmart spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia in May 2019 the modern layout came from an aesthetic place rather than for security reasons.

'Self-serve and central checkout registers make shopping more convenient, ensuring store entrances are free of queues and clutter, and allowing customers to enter and exit with ease,' the spokesperson said at the time.

'Customers will always be welcomed into the store with a friendly store greeter.

'We've noticed the layout is more open now and more spacious without having the registers up at the front part, which can get congested during busy times of the year like Christmas.'

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