The parent of Kmart stores is laying off 700 employees working in Kmart's appliance departments as it changes how the stores sell refrigerators, ovens and other appliances.
Kmart spokesman Chris Brathwaite says the move will allow customers to check out appliances at any register rather than going to a dedicated register for appliances. But there also won't be any specialized appliance-only staff people on hand near appliances. Instead, all Kmart staffers are being trained to answer questions about appliances.
There will also be a 1-800 number customers can call for help.
The moves affect appliance specialists in 225 stores. Kmart had expanded the number of stores with appliance departments to 1,300 stores from 270 stores in February.
Kmart, which is part of Sears Holdings Corp., employs about 100,000 staffers overall.