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KMart’s Battle of the Brands!

Photo Counter believes that Fujifilm and Kodak are both engaged in trials of their printing technology in KMart stores in response to the pending exit of HP RPS from the national mass market chain.

KmartPhoto Counter understands there are four Melbourne suburban stores, including Ringwood and Greensborough trialing with Fujifilm, using Fujifilm dry labs, and six stores in the Kodak trial of Kodak dry transfer printing, including Richmond, Fountaingate and Brandon Park.

Unfortunately we are unable to confirm these details nor provide more, as neither Fujifilm nor Kodak Alaris have responded to repeated enquiries.

KMart’s direct competitor, BigW, is a long-standing Fujifilm partner, and is currently in the process of ‘upgrading’ to Fujifilm DL650 dry labs and reducing the installed base of kiosks per store.

The Fujfilm kiosks used in the trial are, we understand, different to those used in Big W stores. They feature 24-inch screens and are dressed with neon-like LED lights.

Officeworks, also part of the Coles group along with KMart, has Kodak printers and kiosks installed.

There appear to be three alternatives for KMart to follow: Fujifilm; Kodak; or dropping in-store photo printing altogether if the trials don’t deliver the hoped-for revenue per square metre. Unfortunately for dedicated photo specialists, the ‘loss-leader’/ant trail appeal of photo printing probably leaves the last alternative unlikely.

If Kodak wins the contract, the hoped-for re-engagement of Kodak Alaris with its Kodak Express customers will likely be delivered less resources, given the lack of personnel and a finite budget.

Kodak Alaris has held off revealing its 2014 marketing plans for Kodak Express and it’s not beyond the realms of credibility that the new company is waiting on the outcome of the trial to decide where to allocate its limited resources. That is, ‘if we lose out with KMart, then Kodak Express members are our new best friends and if not…’

For Fujifilm-supporting photo specialists it’s business as usual whatever the outcome.

Comment: Saying nothing is an odd communications strategy to adopt when you apparently have a bunch of KMart stores, their staff and customers and half the industry aware that you are conducting a market trial. Just really hard to keep that sort of thing a secret. Whoever thought it possible was having a lend of themselves. We have made every effort over the last two day to gain input from both Kodak and Fujifilm but they never write, they never call…*

If this isn’t a valid, newsworthy story, I don’t know what is, but it seems that Kodak Alaris and Fujifilm are happy to treat their photo specialist customers as mushrooms, as the old saying goes. If anyone out there lives or works close by a Melbourne KMart store, do pop in and have a look. Otherwise – looks like a long and circuitous car trip for Photo Counter next Monday!     

*Correction – Stephen Nichols, business director, Kodak Alaris, phoned just as the weekly newsletter was being prepared.




  1. Tony Tony March 21, 2014

    Sounds like Alaris might have a number of irons in the fire with lots of rumours flying around the place relating to the new instant printers that they want to sell to every pharmacy, newsagent and coffee shop in town! A bit of communication would be great so that their long suffering retail customers could plan for the future, if there is one !

  2. Laurie Laurie March 21, 2014

    First Alaris need to work out which distributor they are truly running with. Seems they are keeping a few ‘on-hook’ – and guessing they are trying to nab the big fish themselves. Problem is now there’s no-one left there who understands the photo industry. Everything is shiny and new for those that remain.

  3. PG PG March 21, 2014

    If you have been into a Kmart and the photo area you will find very little happening they are hidden down the back and the staff is who ever is in the area. Photo is no longer relevant to them since it was one set or two, matt or gloss.

    So the fight for the order is about ego rather than profit. Dave will win!

    • Sandra Sandra March 28, 2015

      The staff in a Kmart photo lab IS NOT WHO EVER IS IN THE AREA. Any member of staff that works in the sound and vision department, MUST be trained by the in-store mini-lab specialist. Sometimes though, when the trained staff member goes on a tea break (which is only 15 minutes) or they are ill, another trained staff member may not be available so another team member may need to fill in. I take deep offense to the way you have painted the Kmart photographic service as they have MANY happy customers.

  4. mark mark March 21, 2014

    You can just imagine the price war on gifts,photos, if Kmart joins the Fujifilm portfolio..

  5. Laurie Laurie March 21, 2014

    PG is right. Kodak just don’t seem together in the eyes of the big players. A strong distributor would have helped them but sadly they don’t seem to have that sorted. Fuji wins by default.

  6. Tony Tony March 21, 2014

    I wouldn’t underestimate Kmart PG, they had a great business before they and a number of other industry luminaries went foolishly down the HP path. And Laurie their won’t be a role for any distributors in this Kmart deal it will be a direct relationship with Alaris. That’s a good thing for Kmart by the way.

    Lets be frank, Kodak paper supply though their official and non official distributors is extremely fragmented and has led to extra costs to many retailers.

  7. Bruce Bruce March 21, 2014

    Does anybody know if this Kmart deal and the placement of Kodak microprinters in every pharmacy, coffee shop and phone shop are going to happen in NZ too?

  8. Big Island Cameras Big Island Cameras March 26, 2014

    Waiting with bated breath to see what Kodak Alaris will do to assist with marketing the brand after dropping Leading Edge. Not hopeful

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