Nordstrom lays off 30 workers
Some 30 employees have been laid off from jobs at Honolulu's new Nordstrom store due to softening sales.
"We had 600 and since opening we've lost about 100 and of that, 70 voluntarily left us or we let go due to poor performance," said Brooke White, spokeswoman for Seattle-based Nordstrom Inc.
"Then, about 30 fantastic people we were forced to lay off" because of market conditions, she said.
Just last month the company announced a 3.8 percent sales decrease for the month, which is "not atypical" from the national retail scene.
Hawaii's first full-service Nordstrom store took an additional one-two punch from the bankruptcies of Aloha and ATA airlines, which ceased flight operations at the beginning of April.
The Honolulu store had "an unbelievable opening and an unbelievable March, and virtually right after the airlines went bankrupt ... We saw a real softening in our business in Honolulu," she said.
Retailers and restaurateurs typically over-hire for openings, both to prepare for opening crowds and in anticipation of naturally occurring attrition.
Nordstrom is up-front about that possibility during the job interview process, she said.
Potential employees are told "there's a possibility we haven't guessed properly" at the staff size needed for a store, "we spell that out up front."
Retail is cyclical, she said. "These things happen and we know that. We've been doing business in Hawaii for a long time and we still are very pleased with the store."