Friday, November 12, 2004

Sam’s Club
plans 90 layoffs
at Honolulu site

The Honolulu Sam's Club plans to lay off nearly one-fifth of its employees on Thursday, exactly four weeks since it opened on Oct. 21.

The big-box retailer is cutting 90 of its 412 positions "due to business results being different than anticipated," according to a press release.

"It's unfortunate and it was a difficult decision," company spokeswoman Jolanda Stewart said last night.

The Sam's Club is part of the 10.5-acre Wal-Mart complex on Keeaumoku Street. A Wal-Mart store at the complex opened to thousands of shoppers on Oct. 13, and the Sam's Club opened a week later.

The 90 employees hold various positions at the store and were hired on different dates, Stewart said. Last month, the company reported hiring 800 people at an average wage of $10.42 for the two stores.

Although Wal-Mart and Sam's Club are owned by the same parent company, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., laid-off employees will not be able to transfer to different stores.

Rather, they will have a week to interview for 65 full- and part-time jobs at the Honolulu Wal-Mart and the Pearl City Sam's Club, Stewart said.

Patrick Loo, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union in Hawaii, said the layoffs are not surprising.

"They constantly over-hire, and this is part of their overall plan," said Loo, whose union opposes the company's use of nonunion labor. "When the doors open, they have a lot of people to service, and shortly after that, usually around two to four weeks, they will certainly get rid of a large amount of people."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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