Kmart has launched a money-off initiative for the unemployed in its original home state of Michigan.

The general merchandiser’s Smart Assist Savings Scheme entitles the jobless to discounts of 20 per cent on own-label basics such as baby products, groceries and toilet roll.

Shoppers registered as unemployed are entitled to discount cards that are valid for six months. Michigan has an unemployment rate of 14.1 per cent – the highest in the US, where the national average is 9.4 per cent.