It’s a brand that almost every Australian household would have at least one item from, but have you ever stopped to think about what Anko actually stands for?
As Kmart’s in-house brand the name is emblazoned on everything from kid’s toys to furniture and even activewear, but it wasn’t always such a staple of the discount department store.
In fact Anko is an abbreviation of sorts after Kmart decided to change all of its “&Co” labelling on products to have just the one name.
In 2018 Kmart announced it would no longer be branding its products according to department – for example, Kids&Co or Clothing&Co – and would be streamlining.
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“Anko is an evolution of our existing ‘&Co’ brands: Home&Co, Kids&Co, Clothing&Co and Active&Co,” the store said in a statement on its website.
“We’ve used ‘k’ in the name to pay homage to where it all started – Kmart Australia.”
The Anko name was introduced as part of a campaign to celebrate Kmart’s 50th anniversary in 2019.
“It also stands for ‘A New Kind Of’, representing the change we‘ve undergone since 2008,” the statement explains.
“With our 50-year anniversary coming in April 2019, we think it’s time to give our amazing product the recognition and celebration it deserves.”
While the name may have been confusing at first for some customers – who took to Facebook at the time of the change say they had been puzzled to take items home and find an “Anko” label on them – they embraced the change.
“I read this on the Kmart website the other day my mind was blown,” one person said, according to Yahoo.
But Anko isn’t just famous in Australia. Around the same time Wesfarmers, the company that owns Kmart, unveiled the store label’s rebranding, it also launched three Anko outlets in the United States as “US research and development stores”.
While there was no Kmart branding, the stores were unmistakably a slimmed-down version of its Aussie owner with some quirky additions like free calligraphy workshops and pop-up cat adoption cafes.
But despite the Anko stores gaining a cult following stateside Wesfarmers insisted the stores were simply a place to test out new ideas for Australian customers and all US outlets were closed in June last year.