BlueLight.com Spared Kmart Cuts

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BlueLight.com will not be affected by Kmart Corp.'s announcement Friday that it will lay off 22,000 employees and close 284 underperforming stores nationwide and in Puerto Rico, a spokeswoman said.


Abigail Jacobs said the cuts, proposed to meet its Chapter 11 objectives, will not impact BlueLight.com, Kmart's online store.


"We still have all our employees in San Francisco and Troy," she said.


Most of the 34 employees are in San Francisco, home to BlueLight.com, and the rest in Kmart's offices in Troy, MI.


The 2-year-old e-commerce site does not anticipate any lapse in its shopping or Internet access service. It was only in September that Kmart bought back the minority stakes Japan's Softbank Venture Capital and Martha Stewart Living had in BlueLight.com.


BlueLight.com draws 4 million unique visitors a month, two-thirds that of Walmart.com. Its BlueLight ISP service has 200,000 paid subscribers.


Kmart's decision to trim staff and stores will come up March 20 for approval at the bankruptcy court in Chicago. The stores to be closed include 271 Kmart discount stores and 12 Kmart supercenters.


Kmart will take a charge of $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion relating to the store closings.


The nation's No. 3 discounter after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp., Kmart currently has 2,114 stores in operation nationwide. Revenue last year was $37 billion. The announced lay-offs affect 9 percent of its 250,000-strong workforce.


Kmart was forced to file for bankruptcy protection Jan. 22 after customers, financial markets and suppliers lost faith in its ability to stand up to rival discounters, market leader Wal-Mart and hipper rival Target.


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