JC Penney has had a long history in Hawaii. The Ala Moana store has been around for 36 years. But today, the Texas-based department store chain announced it's pulling out of Hawaii, closing three of the four stores here.
77-year-old Cornelia Gamao just treated herself to a purse from JC Penney. This is her favorite department store at Ala Moana Center.
"They have the things that I like to buy. And besides, you know, the prices are good...you know, cheaper," says Cornelia.
A spokesperson for the Texas-based retailer says the affected locations have been unprofitable for some time.
"The retail business is very competitive these days. We've had to look at all of our stores and those that are producing for us and those that, for whatever reason, are not," says Lyons.
Lyons says not only are the stores not profitable now, company officials are no longer confident the situation will turn around. When the closures take effect, 450 employees will be laid off.
"What we will do is try to work with them individually, help them identify other opportunities that may be available."
Sterling Kaimimoku is shopping with his friends from Ohio. The Kalihi native calls JC Penney an icon and says the pull out is tragic.
"I grew up shopping at JC Penney's. And now, you know, been away six years now and came back to find out they're closing. It's a, to me, it's a tragedy."
The company's fourth Hawaii store at Queen Kaahumanu Center on Maui will remain open for now.