Macy's to close downtown Honolulu store - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Macy's to close downtown Honolulu store

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Dawn Rodrigues Dawn Rodrigues
Carolyn Haley Carolyn Haley
Stephany Sofos Stephany Sofos

Macy's will close the downtown Honolulu location in the coming months and there's already plenty of speculation what will take over the prime location.

A retail store has been at the Fort Street Mall location more than 160 years but unless another retailer takes its place all sales will be final.

Dawn Rodrigues is a shopper on a mission.  The underperforming Downtown Macy's will be closing and clearance sales start Monday.

"I came out here because I heard they were closing and I wanted to get in on the deals," said Dawn Rodrigues, who works downtown.

"Do a little reconnaissance?"

"Yes," laughed Rodrigues.

The store has added convenience for people who work downtown for years.

"I love Macy's because you can come here and do shopping at lunch. They have a cafeteria upstairs so if you want comfort food you can go there and have something not terribly healthy but makes you feel good and you can do your last minute gift shopping maybe you need a bra or something you're already downtown you can run in at lunch, boom boom got your errand off your list," said Carolyn Haley, who works downtown.

Unfortunately other shoppers weren't as enthusiastic as she was and the Macy's is one of five stores plus a Bloomingdale's that will be closing nationwide. However the 1.2 acre location with its 450 parking spaces is attractive.

"All the developers that come to Hawaii they say well they're not going to expand, they're looking at plans but they're all looking at plans to expand and build because that's why they're coming here," said Stephany Sofos, Real Estate Consultant. "Everything in Honolulu is going vertical so this is a perfect location for that opportunity."

Sofos says downtown hasn't had new office building development in 20 years.  Of course seeing the luxury condos at Ala Moana sell in a day may entice residential development. Then there are the rumors Sears will move in considering the company was bought out and will close its Ala Moana store later this year.

"Everything in retail is about location, price points and convenience so a Sears coming in to a downtown area will provide all that," said Sofos.  "However brick and mortar retail is going through a revolution and they don't even know where they're going."

New York based Developers Lexington Realty Trust bought the building six years ago for nearly $35 million and won't want it to sit vacant for long.

"When you spend over $30 million for a piece of property you're not going to let it sit there and look pretty. You're going to do something with it," said Sofos.

"I just think it's sad. I don't want it to go. I like Macy's. But this store is the step child of all the Macy's in Hawaii," said Haley.

Some of the 91 Macy's employees will be offered jobs at the other 13 Macy's stores in the state or they will be laid off with severance package.

The other closures include Houston; St. Paul, Minn.; Pasadena, Calif.; and Belmont, Mass. The Bloomingdale's Fashion Show Home Store in Las Vegas will also be closed. Macy's management cautioned against reading too much into it, but three of the five Macy's stores closing are in urban cores, while new stores are planned at malls in five states. Macy's has more than 800 stores in 45 states but its store count will slip below that level after these store closures are done and before new stores open. The company estimates that these actions will trigger $2 million to $4 million in new costs to be figured into fourth quarter 2012 results.

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