Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Local Motion
moves with Macy’s

A year ago today Ohio-based Federated Department Stores announced plans to acquire Hawaii's venerated Liberty House department stores and turn them into Macy's stores.

The anxiety of local designers, manufacturers and other vendors could be visualized as if they were biting down on the bent knuckle of the collective index finger of worry.

Now some local brands have enjoyed an expansion to the mainland through the Liberty House-turned-Macy's relationship.

LH carried Local Motion, Hawaiian Style and Kahala brands and the latter enjoyed some distribution to Macy's West stores prior to the acquisition, according to parent company Local Motion Inc. General Manager Marshall Marumoto.

Since then "business has been growing within the Macy's chain," he said.

Additionally, T-shirts by Hawaiian Style have been picked up by some 20 West Coast Macy's stores.

"They've been really good about supporting local businesses, so it's been good for Hawaii," Marumoto said.

He would not discuss any client losses in the competitive West Coast retail market due to its strengthened relationship with Macy's, but Marumoto said overall the company and its brands experienced net growth.

"We're trying to make sure that we secure the opportunities here in Hawaii and then work toward rolling them out to Macy's West on the mainland," said Judy Larch, local vice president of merchandising for Macy's.

"We are so thrilled with the opportunity for continued growth that we haven't accomplished all of them yet," she said.

Once the Federated deal was done the effort to "Macyize" Liberty House stores began. Officials were constantly reminded that the stores should retain some local culture in order to assimilate well into the marketplace.

By way of homage to its predecessor, "we also have incorporated its name into our island shops," which are now called "Island Attitudes by Liberty House," Larch said.

Aware of consumer demand that Macy's keep special events that made the Liberty House shopping experience unique, Larch said, executives are planning activities for September's Aloha Festivals as well as for "Special Night," an LH tradition observed the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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