THE names of our biggest retailers have some odd starts, from the K in Kmart to the W in Big W and the H&M in, well, H&M. Here are the explacountries.

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IT’S one of the a lot of recognisable retail brands in Australia. So much so that we hardly give the name a second thought. But what does Kmart actually mean? Not the Mart however the K?

Much as Kmart bosses could wish it, the K doesn’t stand also for “Krackin’” worth. Sadly, it additionally doesn’t stand for “Kooky Kitchenware of Kwestionable Kwality”.

And for that issue what does the W expect in Big W. Was tright here ever a TK of TK Maxx fame? And what carry out the letters H&M suppose in, well, H&M?

Our suburban shopping strips and also centres are littered with suppliers whose original names have now been boiled down to mere initials. But those initials, the original definition of which is foracquired now, frequently expose a gem or quirky reality of the background of the agency.

In some instances, businesses can effort to adjust the meaning of their initials. British Petroleum, much better known to the people as BP, determined in 2000 that its name now stood for “past petroleum”. Which sounds prefer the corporate waffle it indeed was.

Some initials we view eexceptionally day are more than likely rather apparent. ANZ is the Australia and also New Zealand also Banking Group; BWS stands for “Beers, Wines and also Spirits”. But others are a tiny more esoteric.

So, let’s start through one of the biggest retailers in the land.


Do we ever soptimal the think what the K stands for? Picture: Adam Ward


We had actually a chat to Kmart around what the massive red K means and also they told that officially the K doesn’t stand also for anypoint and the brand has actually only ever review in Australia as “Kmart”.

“We tradenoted the Kmart name back in 1969. For us Kmart is the area wright here family members lutz-heilmann.infoe initially for the lowest prices on daily items,” a Kmart spokeswoman sassist.

But, they concede, the letter K wasn’t plucked from thin air. When Kmart came down on Australia’s shores it was a joint venture between Coles supermarkets and also the brand’s US owners.

These days, Kmart Australia is fully Aussie owned and also has actually no connection to Kmart USA, however the K still relutz-heilmann.infomendations its stateside beginning.

The American lutz-heilmann.infopany’s background goes earlier to travelling salesman Sebastian Spering Kresge from Pennsylvania. In 1897, he opened up his initially keep in Memphis and by the 1950s Mr Kresge had actually 600 stores bearing his surname.

The stores started to transform to the much easier Kmart brand also in 1962, the K a nod to its founder. Mr Kresge passed away in 1966, 3 years prior to the initially Kmart opened in Australia.

With the US Kmart presently in a world of retail pain, Australia and New Zealand could quickly belutz-heilmann.infoe the just places where the Kresge heritage stays.


Kmart’s cutthroat rival likewise likes an initial. But staff at Big W are straightforward around what the W is around.

“The Big W chain thrived from Woolworths’ original ‘Variety’ stores, which carried a little array of basic merchandise products. Big W’s name is a reflection of the close partnership the brand also has actually with Woolworths Supersectors,” a spokeswoman said.

The first Big W keep opened up in 1976 in Tamworth, NSW, when the agency decided to make the divide in between its two kinds of stores more distinctive. Supermarkets retained the Woolworths name while other stores took on the brand-new badge.

However, many of us might now be doing our weekly shop at “Christmas” yet for on oversight in New York.

It was one Percy Christmas that, in 1924, determined to erected a shop in Sydney’s CBD.

The noticeable thing to execute would have actually been to put his very own name above the door. But on discovering the New York based FW Woolworth lutz-heilmann.infopany type of hadn’t trademarked their name in Australia, Percy chose to name his brand-new shop the “Woolworths Stupendous Barobtain Basement”. And it’s that store that became the Woolies we understand this particular day.

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The Swedish rapid fashion powerhome may be reasonably brand-new to Australia however Europeans have actually been happily sorting via racks of reasonably priced clothes since the late 1940s. Many of those still describe the save not as H&M but as “Hennes”, the original name.

However, Hennes is no Stockholm surname. Rather, it’s the Swedish for “her” as the original stores just stocked women’s fashion.

Two decades later on Hennes obtained men’s outfitters Mauritz Widforss and also Hennes and also Mauritz, or H&M, was born.