Hilo Hattie reorganizes, files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The downturn in Hawaii's tourism has hit one of the state's largest local retailers.

Hilo Hattie announced Thursday the company will reorganize and file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

The move is to strengthen and stabilize the company, as well as move forward with its plans to open a new flagship store in the Royal Hawaiiain Center in Waikiki.

"We've made good progress in the past few months to restructure the company's financial affairs and to set it on a positive course," said CEO Ted Nelson.  "Unfortunately, the sudden drop in visitors to Hawaii and the sharp economic downturn statewide has left us no choice but to seek Chapter 11 relief.

Nelson says he's confident the reorganization will provide a fresh start to rebuild and strengthen the company.

With the agreement to move to Waikiki, the company plans to sell its Nimitz property, currently Hilo Hattie's flagship store.

None of the company's 256 employees will be directly affected by the move.  All retail operations and offices will remain open and business will continue without interruption.

Hilo Hattie, founded in 1963, currently has nine store locations throughout Hawaii and California.