(Aug. 16) In the wake of money woes and store closings as Kmart Corp. looks to right its ship, the Troy, Mich.-based company has hired Dick King of Encore Associates Inc. as general merchandise manager, food and consumables.

King, part of the San Ramon, Calif., group’s ExecuForce division, will be responsible for merchandise assortment and sales for the food division. He will report to Kmart president and chief operating officer Julian Day.

“Our goal (Encore’s) is to help develop the strategy and what we feel is the future of the retail food business at Kmart,” said King, whose firm provides business solutions and subject-matter experts to retailers, manufacturers and consumer packaged goods companies.

“We are trying to be another set of eyes for Kmart. It’s another opportunity for them to gain from our experience and for us to give our recommendations.”

King said part of those recommendations would consider the produce aisle at Kmart’s SuperCenters.

“Produce is a very important part of the retail food business,” King said. “We are looking at how it will look in the future, and of course produce is very important to us. We’re going to try to find the right items, the right mix and at the right cost.”

King spent 36 years at Albertson’s Inc., joining the Boise, Idaho-based retailer in 1963. He was president and chief operating officer from February 1996 until June 1999.