Wal-Mart holds plans for Hilo supercenter
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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has put on hold its controversial plans to build the state's first "supercenter" store in HIlo.
The Bentonville, Ark., retailer said the move was part of a corporate strategy to rein in growth to improve returns, productivity and sales.
The company's plans to expand its current Hilo store to a supercenter spurred several County Council bills to ban the large-format stores, but none of the measures has passed.
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Citing a corporate change in strategy, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced yesterday it is putting plans to expand its Hilo store into a "supercenter" on hold.
The decision stems from the Bentonville, Ark., company's recent strategy of scaling back growth to improve returns, productivity and sales within U.S. stores.
"This decision does not affect our current stores and we remain committed to providing the best opportunity for the people on the Big Island to get the most out of their hard earned dollar," said Wal-Mart public affairs manager Kevin Loscotoff in a press release. "We have a good relationship with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) and we are looking forward to continuing that relationship."
Loscotoff added that Hilo is a good place to do business.
Wal-Mart currently owns and operates eight discount stores in the state, including Hilo and Kailua-Kona, and two Sam's Clubs. The Hilo supercenter would have been Wal-Mart's first in the state.
A Wal-Mart supercenter offers a full line of groceries, a bakery and frozen foods as well as the usual merchandise in a standard store. More Wal-Mart superstores on the mainland are beginning to offer organics, along with gourmet meats, cheese, wine and specialty beers. One that recently opened in Toledo, Ohio measured 210,755 square feet.
DHHL director Micah Kane said he was notified of Wal-Mart's change in plans at Waiakea Center on Friday and that the department will now explore all its options.
Wal-Mart's change in plans comes in the wake of several proposed bills before the Hawaii County Council regulating superstores -- none of which passed.
Plans for a ninth Wal-Mart discount store in Kapolei are still under way, according to Loscotoff, although construction has not started. He said there were no additional plans in Kapolei at this time, although Wal-Mart is believed to be planning another supercenter at DHHL's 1.5 million-square-foot Makana Alii mall in East Kapolei.