I don't care what anyone tells you. If your stock takes off because an analyst crunches the numbers and reveals that the real estate you're sitting on is worth more than the company itself, that's not a compliment. If your balance sheet appears reasonable just because it was steam cleaned by bankruptcy court, that's not a compliment. If your stock rises, as it did yesterday, despite a 15% slide in same-store sales, that's not a compliment.

While the market may be getting excited about Kmart (NASDAQ:KMRT) possibly formulating some form of exit strategy, locking into its prized real estate as a springboard to greatness elsewhere, color me unenthused. I don't applaud Plan B's.

See, I think Kmart still has a shot in retail. Yes, it's true it got lapped by Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT). That's what happens when you stall as a growth vehicle. Given the dangers of hitchhiking these days, one shouldn't assume that Kmart can simply thumb its way back into the race.

Yet something impressed me over the weekend, and I'm so jaded that Kmart truly caught me by surprise this time.

First, a confession. I knocked Kmart earlier this year. I'll admit that I was cruel in taking the company to task for having folks such as Rosie O'Donnell and Penny Marshall and forgotten pinups such as Kathy Ireland and Jaclyn Smith pitch its wares. Martha Stewart may have been a more promising alliance if it weren't for the Martha Stewart Omnimedia (NYSE:MSO) star's legal tangles. In short, I think Kmart blundered in its marketing approach. Like a loveless nerd, it was dating itself.

But then I found myself going through the latest issue of Us. I didn't have to get far into the celebrity magazine to see a full-page ad that featured the three young female leads of One Tree Hill. Seeing the trio from the popular show on Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) WB network was expected. Seeing them decked out in Kmart clothes -- with the low listed prices in captions -- was a head-turner.

You go, Kmart! No matter what happens, finding ways such as this to make your retail operations more attractive to young consumers is a can't-miss proposition. While I don't think that the words "hip" and "Kmart" have ever been uttered in the same sentence -- well, until just now -- making your stores cool and your sales grow will go a long way toward producing even more cash flow on improving margins. How you decide to reinvest those proceeds is up to you. I think I'm starting to trust you again, K.

For those scoring at home, yes, that's a compliment.

Are you a thrifty shopper? Do you think that Kmart's One Tree Hill ad showing young stars in $20 clothing will help enforce the notion that you don't have to spend a great amount to look great? All this and more -- in theLiving Below Your Meansdiscussion board. Only on Fool.com.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz relishes the fact that he has never been suggested as a brand spokesman. He does not own shares in any companies mentioned in this story.