Jeans Warehouse to open new store
Even though surveys indicate that optimism among retailers nationally and locally is ebbing, Jeans Warehouse is looking to expand.
Phil Fong, president and chief executive officer for Jeans Warehouse, told members of the Business Banking Council yesterday that plans are underway to open a new flagship store at Ala Moana Center this summer.
The new 5,000-square-foot store will rival the chain's current flagship outlet, a 4,500-square-foot space at Pearlridge Shopping Center, Fong said. The retailer now has two smaller spaces, 2,324 and 1,726 square feet, at Ala Moana.
"In a good economy most retailers will do well, but in a softer economy value becomes more relevant," said Fong, whose chain's tagline is "Fashion Happens for Less."
Ala Moana spokesman Matt Derby said the company is in the final stages of lease approval for the space vacated by KB Toys.
With its Ala Moana store expected to open in June or July, the 26-store company is scouting other expansion possibilities, Fong said.
Neighbor island economies could absorb a few more stores, Fong said, but the challenge of finding employees to work there could constrain momentum.
"Although the economy is down, we still have a very limited employment base," Fong said.
Hints of a recession on the mainland appear to have made some Hawaii business owners nervous. However, teen shoppers -- the bread and butter of Jeans Warehouse -- may prove to be a market that defies the downturn. In the past, some of Hawaii's businesses found that economic setbacks did not trickle down to the teen disposable-income market.