Kmart Canada.

So, a fellow Vintage Point of Sale aficionado and I are trying to figure out what Kmart Canada used for their point of sale system in the mid 1980s until Kmart left Canada in 1997. We suspect they were made by NEC.

Take a look in this newspaper photo, the register is spotted from the side in the Computer department.

Things we know:

  • The cash registers started out with the old Kmart inventory “keys”
  • The cash registers were upgraded to scanning, however, before the actual scanners were installed, they cashiers entered UPC codes into the registers
  • There was a two line alphanumeric 13-segment LED display
  • The registers may have been connected with a 10 Base T BNC cable

If you have any information, please reply to this entry.


  1. Same here… no idea of the make/model, though I seem to remember seeing something like “FM” on the logo above these registers’ slip printers. There are some up-close shots of one of those registers in this YouTube clip from 1996, at a Kmart store in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the day that Canada’s “Anik E1” satellite failed.

    Note that the barcode scanners at this location were Symbol LS9100s… the Kmarts in my neck of the woods at the time (Peterborough/Lindsay, Ontario) had Metrologic MS262s.

    Kmart Canada was also an early adopter of the now extremely popular “Interac debit” (not “Interact”) payment system, and I hear it was quite the task to connect the TD Bank-branded PIN pads directly to those registers, rather than use entirely separate payment terminals. If a customer paid by “debit”, they’d get their regular receipt from the register, and the cashier would print the “transaction record” using the slip printer.

    1. Ben your video is no longer available. I tried asking the CBC for it, but they cannot find it. Do you have it?

  2. Thank you for your accurate reporting of Kmart in the mid-80’s. When I joined in July of 1985 I asked how long the Series 1 implementation would take and the manager, Ron Primrose, told me he would have to get back to me. He had 42 fulltime people so I suspected it still needed more than 42 man years of effort. That’s when I put together the IBM AT and PSI strategy. Kmart saved $100 million by switching from the Series 1 to the PC solution. You are correct that the PRISM solution ran in all stores regardless of register type which allowed us to insure deliveries (at one point we were taking 25% of IBM’s worldwide production of 4683s) and gave us a competitive stance with all vendors. I was also Vice President of Marketing for Data Terminal Systems until the company imploded. Call anytime you want to talk.

    1. Hello David,

      Thanks for stopping by the site! I appreciate the kind words. I always wondered why Kmart switched to a different technology around the year 2000, you and your team had a great thing going there.

      Another hobbyist and I have been trying to figure out what point of sale system was used at the Kmart stores in Canada. The registers were nothing like we’d seen in the states back in the day. We know stores were connected to other systems by satellite, but have never figured out who made the hardware at the front end. Any chance you remember?

      I always attribute my fascination with the DTS registers installed at the various stores in my hometown as leading to my career as a software engineer. I wish I could find a DTS 300 or 400 still intact. The search continues.

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