Shell Shines Red Light on Kmart Special


Kmarts blue-light specials may be popular with shoppers, but a recent sale apparently did not sit well with one of its motor oil suppliers.

Shell Oil Products stopped shipping Pennzoil and Quaker State products to the Troy, Michigan-based retailer last month. Shell spokesman Carole Lieber said the decision was in line with Kmarts current marketing and positioning strategies for these brands.

Lieber declined to elaborate, but the Detroit Free Press reported in a Nov. 9 article that the decision followed a three-day promotion during which Kmart lowered its prices for the two brands to 99 cents per quart. According to the article, Kmart normally priced the brands between $1.50and $1.89 per quart.

Kmart officials could not be reached for comment.

Lieber downplayed the significance of Shells decision, saying, These kinds of moves are not at all uncommon. She also noted that Shell continues sending other products, such as Rotella diesel engine oil and Axius wheel covers, to Kmart.

Kmart Corp., which has more than 1,800 stores, has been under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since January. That same month, Pennzoil-Quaker State Co. announced a $20 million loss due mostly to the write-off of receivables from Kmart that became questionable as a result of its bankruptcy. At that time, Pennzoil-Quaker State said Kmart accounted for 2.5 percent of its sales.

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