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Kmart, Eastland, Australia

Issue 57 Oct / Nov 2010 : Retail : Supermarket


Kmart operate 182 stores throughout Australia and New Zealand and employs thousands of local residents. Kmart’s massive range of products includes men’s, women’s and children’s wear; garden; home; health & beauty; outdoor living; entertainment; toys & sporting; camping & fishing; automotive; DIY and everyday needs.

LAPD started working in Australia in 2008 with Kmart’s sister company Target so the retailer was aware of LAPD’s expertise in retail lighting design. LAPD recommended that Kmart move away from the escalating high levels of uniform illumination that were previously employed. The design intent was to create layers of light and pockets of interest, with the introduction of accent lighting in key merchandise areas.

Careful consideration was made to the light level which was reduced from over 1100lux to closer to 800lux. This provided a more intimate feel in store and allowed the accent lighting to define features without having to use high wattage sources to cut through the ambient.
Colour temperature was also key and played a significant role in defining the space. The perimeter wallwash used GE’s linear T5 Wattmiser fluorescents at 4000 degrees Kelvin, which was cooler than the 3500 degrees Kelvin Wattmiser lamps employed across the sales floor (a first in Australia). This variation in colour temperature helped to define the visible boundaries in the store and perfectly compliments the soft grey colour palette of the redesigned interior.

Again, accent lighting added a further layer to the colour temperature palette at 3000 Kelvin, giving extra warmth to key products.
Furthermore, by using the GE CMH Ultra 35W lamps, the best possible colour rendering experience was delivered to customer focal points.
Particular care was taken to enhance areas of customer interaction. The changing room complex, Layby, Photo shop, Entertainment and Checkout areas all received dedicated pendant or feature lighting. In addition to this, each corner of the store was treated as a feature destination and had an elevated light level through the addition of spotlighting.

The entrance was redesigned to be wide and clear, providing a grand vista into the store. In contrast to other areas, the entrance was only lit with spotlights. This delivered added drama through high levels of contrast between spotlit merchandise and low light levels on the walkway.

The redesigned lighting scheme, coupled with the new interior, creates a stunning new shopping experience which is distinctly different to the old Kmart. But whilst the store environment improved dramatically the energy consumption of the store was reduced by a massive 44.8%.
Kmart’s main criteria for the new lighting design was flexibility, energy efficiency and ease of installation. The new scheme also needed to be adaptable depending upon existing ceiling conditions. LAPD selected a new lighting system that was able to meet this brief - the iTrack from Whitecroft Lighting. This system was selected because it could be surface mounted or suspended; one system for all store types; benefiting Kmart through procurement volume, simplicity of maintenance and uniformity of the brand experience.

In future stores Kmart are seeking to utilise iTrack further, with the addition of LED emergency lighting, PA, General Power Outlets and feature pendant lighting.

The iTrack system is fundamentally a trunking system with the benefit of it being able to accept linear T5 fluorescents and track mounted spotlights. The spotlights and the fluorescents can be mounted to the track using the same tool free simplicity found with track lighting. There are no constraints on where fluorescents or track can be mounted, so the installation is incredibly flexible.

Consideration was also given to energy usage in the back of house areas through the implementation of a control strategy which used microwave sensors to dim down the lighting to 10% when areas are not occupied. This strategy maintains safety and comfort for users in the space, benefits the lamps because they’re not being switched (which damages lamps), and provides instant light because the lamps don’t need to warm up.  

“Different lamp wattages and colour temperatures were used to create subtle layers of light.”, says Simon Fisher, Director at LAPD. “The wattage difference between linear fluorescent product types ensured that the lamps could not be mixed during maintenance.

“Kmart’s first store, Eastland, has been delivered on time and delivering a 44.8% energy saving compared to the original scheme. The design of the store, using iTrack, means that the space can cope easily with changes in seasonal merchandising and also future store re-designs.”
All lighting was supplied to Kmart via SLS (Specialised Lighting Solutions) in Melbourne who look after all the lighting supply and lamp maintenance for the store.

iTrack and all fluorescent lighting were supplied through Eagle Lighting, an Australian company that is part of the Fagerhult group of companies. Fagerhult, Whitecroft and Eagle all worked together to deliver this solution for Kmart. iTrack is a completely new system (LAPD showed it to Kmart on October 2009 and it was not officially launched until March 2010), so LAPD was the first consultancy to specify and use the system with a retailer. This threw up some technical and logistical challenges, which translated in to a truly global effort to deliver the lighting solution. Elements of the iTrack system for this project was manufactured in Sweden, Germany, China, Australia and the UK. Getting all the right parts of the system in the right place at the right time was quite a challenge! Eastland and another store, Casuarina, in Darwin, were delivered in the same time frames.

Moving Forward
Kmart have retained LAPD as lighting consultants and the next six stores are now on the drawing board. There are also a number of further initiatives that LAPD have been engaged in. These include undertaking energy audits of Kmart’s existing estate to identify potential energy saving options and how the new scheme can be ‘reverse engineered’ to allow elements of the new concept to be integrated in to store refurbishments, where the full scheme cannot be applied.
Kmart are running an extensive media campaign to raise their profile across Australia and New Zealand. ‘Expect change’ included the installation of the iTrack, painting the ceiling and walls, removal of the old recessed fluorescent fittings and the installation of new gondolas, signage and check outs.

Project Details
Kmart, Eastland, Australia
Client: Kmart
Lighting Designer: LAPD

Lighting Specified
Whitecroft/Fagerhult iTrack system and all Front of House symmetric and asymmetric iTrack fluorescent lighting (Eagle Lighting)
Fagerhult Pozzo in changing rooms (Eagle Lighting)
Reggiani Varios track mounted spotlights (Euroluce)
SLS Australia feature pendant lighting
SLS Australia fluorescent lighting in Layby and Customer Services
SLS Australia IP65 batten fluorescents in Back of House


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