Kmart corrals PR counsellors for comeback

TROY, MI - Kmart's senior vice-president of communications has confirmed that the beleaguered retailer is looking for PR help.

Lori McTavish said that she was sounding out agencies about a new grassroots PR campaign.

Kmart expects to work with a variety of firms as it fights to emerge from bankruptcy. But it won't hire a PR agency of record, McTavish said. Instead, she wants to assemble a team of agencies with expertise in various areas -- a task already begun.

McTavish confirmed that Kmart has been working with Kekst & Co for bankruptcy PR, with Porter Novelli on PR related to Kmart's new ad campaign, and with Golin/Harris on consumer PR issues. New York-based Lippe Taylor has been working on apparel PR.

McTavish's promotion last week from VP to SVP of communications signifies how vital PR is to Kmart's new management team. McTavish said her new title is 'really not about me, it's more about our leadership team and their philosophy of communications.'

In addition to the promotion, McTavish is now solely responsible for overseeing internal communications. That function had previously been shared by communications and HR.

Kmart last week announced that CEO Chuck Conaway was leaving, with current chairman James Adamson assuming the CEO title.

Communications goals of late have been to reach employees with news about store closings and layoffs, and to talk with vendors about ongoing Kmart operations, McTavish said.

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