BlueLight.com gets a name change, new look

Kmart has renamed and changed the look of its online shopping site.

BlueLight.com didn't prove very special for Kmart Corp.

So the Troy, Mich.-based retailer decided to change the name of its online shopping site to Kmart.com in a move that analysts said wasn't surprising. BlueLight.com is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kmart.

The Web site now has an updated look, new products and an easy-to-use interface, according to the company. It also features information about Kmart's "Stuff of Life" advertising campaign, which draws attention to its brands.

Kmart spokesman Dave Karraker said the discount retailer changed the name of its Web site because it wanted to create a unified brand across all its sales channels.

In April 2001, Kmart announced the return of its BlueLight Special, an in-store advertising campaign featuring a flashing blue light signaling special discounts, which was first introduced in 1965 and discontinued in 1991.

Mike Porter, an analyst at Chicago-based Morningstar Inc., said the BlueLight Special campaign never caught on again. He said that in hindsight, it was shortsighted of Kmart to try to generate business around the idea.

"It was not very successful," Porter said. "It never got beyond the kitschy phase."

Porter said customers often complained because often there weren't adequate quantities of the items offered for sale.

James Crawford, an analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc., said it wasn't a surprise that Kmart extinguished BlueLight.com. He said it made sense that the retailer would decided to integrate its Web site with its bricks-and-mortar stores.

Crawford said it was more important that the Web site support the off-line store and operate as a place where consumers can get information about the brands being sold in Kmart stores.

In January, Kmart announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it reorganized its business using a $2 billion financing package it secured through several lenders. All of the company's 2,114 stores remain open during the reorganization. Kmart expects to emerge from Chapter 11 in 2003.

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