Marukai no longer 99 cents only
CHANGE has come to Marukai Corp.
's value retail stores. The word "cents" has been taken out of the picture at its Waipahu and Ward stores. It never was a part of the name at the Windward Mall location, but until recently, all items in the store were priced at 99 cents.
The stores will all be known henceforth as the Marukai 99 Superstores.
Over the past few months, stickers and shelf-tags indicating a price of $1.49 have cropped up on certain items.
"Customers are asking for more variety and better quality," said Roy Ishihara, vice president.
Marukai Vice President Richard Matsu said in March 2003 that prices would remain at 99 cents forever, but that was before maintaining that price became so difficult, Ishihara said.
Everything's going up, "prices, raw materials, gas, oil, everything from China."
"We're playing with the $1.49 price point," said Ishihara, but they're also looking at staying true to the 99 in the stores' name, so items may be priced at $1.99, $2.99 and $3.99 with a maximum price of $4.99.
"It depends on how the customers react ... but a majority -- say 80 or 90 percent -- we want to keep at 99 cents."
The Windward Mall location also has embarked on a move, across the mall, from a 7,100-square-foot space to a 7,500-square-foot space.
Not all of the new space will be sales floor, however; part will be used as a small warehouse, Ishihara said.
A Marukai sister store that sells Japanese antiques, ceramics and trinkets, Tsuru Matsu An, will cease operation when its lease ends at the end of this month.
"We're not going to give up the idea of the store," Ishihara said. The company is looking for a location where the demographics more closely meet the store's merchandise, some of it high-end.
A 25 percent-off sale is underway in the shop, which has displayed samurai armor and gold-embroidered kimono at the entrance.
Windward Mall officials could not be reached for information on the new tenants for the spaces being vacated.
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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 at: firstname.lastname@example.org