Mainland chains close isle locations


POSTED: Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Several shops have closed around Hawaii as sales numbers from the holiday season are tallied.

The first isle Ben & Jerry's franchise, which opened at Ward Centre in the summer of 2006, is now shuttered. Scoop Shops Hawaii Inc., however, still has one Ben & Jerry's location at Windward Mall, where it opened last year.

Jamba Juice also closed down its store at Hawaii Kai Towne Center on New Year's Eve. A Jamba Juice at Koko Marina Center will remain open.

The store was the second to shut down last year, in addition to another Jamba Juice that closed on Alakea Street in downtown Honolulu.

As planned, Starbucks has shuttered two of its shops in the Ward area - on the ground floor of the Hokua at 1288 Ala Moana condominium, as well as at the Borders Books last Sunday.

Seattle-based Starbucks announced last year it would close five stores in Hawaii, including those two locations. The Starbucks inside Borders Books in Kahului also closed on Sunday.

Other Starbucks slated for closure are at Sand Island on Oahu and at Waiakea Center in Hilo.

Jamba Juice's Hawaii closures may have to do, in part, with the California company's financial woes. In May the company said it would close 10 underperforming stores in 2008, end seven signed leases and cut 53 positions at the corporate level.

In Hawaii, Jamba Juice is a joint partnership between The MacNaughton Group and Jamba Juice Co. of San Francisco doing business as JJC Hawaii LLC. Jamba Juice entered the Hawaii market in 1999, and as of last September, had about 35 stores on all four major islands.

Company representatives did not return calls for comment.

KB Toys is also liquidating inventory and preparing to close its four Hawaii stores. The shelves at the Kahala Mall KB Toys are more than 70 percent cleared, and the store will likely close down by the end of this month.

Retail analyst Stephany Sofos said she was surprised by the closings.

“;If you're seeing closures, it probably is indicative that sales were down at the locations,”; she said. “;What's happening is the retailers are looking to close down stores that are secondary and ancillary to focus on core stores.”;

Additional store closures are expected this year, according to the year-end retail report by Colliers Monroe Friedlander, along with a significant boost in vacancy. Last year, however, ended with a vacancy retail rate of 3.2 percent, with some 500,000 square feet filled by tenants due to new developments.