Sears and Kmart are two of the most iconic names in US retailing. Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck founded Sears, Roebuck and Company in 1886 as a mail order catalog. It began opening stores in 1925 and ultimately became the largest retailer in the country.
Kmart was the successor company to S. S. Kresge Company, which was founded in 1899 by Sabastian S. Kresge. Kmart started up in 1962, the same year as Wal-Mart. Kmart grew much faster than Wal-Mart initially and eventually passed Sears in the late 1980’s only to be eclipsed by Wal-Mart in 1990. At its peak, Kmart operated 2171 stores.