Monday, November 26, 2001

Local retail Web
sites disappoint

Hawaii's retailers do their best to gear up for the opening of their doors and the Christmas shopping season the day after Thanksgiving.

The same cannot be said about all retail centers' Web sites. The words "frustrating," "unfortunate" and "abysmal" came to mind during research for this column.

Ala Moana Center made no mention of Macy's on its site at, even though Macy's is the largest retailer to enter the Hawaii market in recent memory.

The "Shops" to "General Merchandise" click-throughs led to a text-only page about now-defunct Liberty House. Iida's is the only store listing with a Web link.

Windward Mall's site is under construction at while its sister shopping centers such as Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center feature page after page of colorful photos and price ranges for the center's restaurants. The site for Hawaii Kai Towne Center, another sister-center, www. yields frustrating "no documents found" messages on the shops and dining links. Yet another sister-center, in Keauhou Kona, also has few tenant links.

Surely typing in www. would lead to the Web site for the Waikele Premium Outlets, and yet ... that site is under construction, registered to Brian Itoman in California. More searching led to, which offers a printable coupon to be redeemed for a coupon book upon arrival at the center. Navigating through the premium outlet site finally led to a link to Waikele, which lists its merchants, but only two store names were clickable.

The same is true of the Pearlridge Web site at It listsmerchants and their phone numbers but none are clickable, though in the "about" link aerial photos show transformation of the area from the 1940s to the '70s to the '90s.

The sites with the most to offer were and

McCully Shopping Center's site was navigator-friendly, as the shops link yields a list of merchants coupled with synopses of what a shopper can expect. The merchant name is linked to a photo, a more detailed description, store hours, phone and fax numbers and its Web site where applicable. Going to the restaurant links at the wrong time of day could cause premature onos for various types of food, which appear in appetizing glory.

The biggest and most usable site found during TheBuzz research belongs to Victoria Ward Ltd. The curious can search each of six retail properties, click to alphabetical or categorical listings of merchants and store photos.

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

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