Hilo Hattie forges ahead with reorganization


POSTED: Friday, October 02, 2009

Pomare Ltd. dba Hilo Hattie expects to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Donald B.S. Kang.

The company's reorganization plan was confirmed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Sept. 14, while Sunday marks the start of a new fiscal year.

“;Hilo Hattie is a symbol of aloha to millions of people throughout the world.”; Kang said. “;Our reputation is a priceless attribute that has been forged by our ohana, one customer at a time, for the past 46 years.”;

Kang, who owns apparel manufacturer Royal Hawaiian Creations, added that the retailer's formula for success is “;simply to provide customers a memorable Hilo Hattie experience with great products at an unbeatable value.”;

Kang invested $1 million in Hilo Hattie, and plans to put in another $2 million for improvements.

In a message to customers, Kang said his vision is to provide the largest selection of made-in-Hawaii fashions and gifts, including an expanded line of children's apparel.

Hilo Hattie's seven stores will remain open, including the Nimitz Highway headquarters, which will undergo renovations. Maui Divers Jewelry will continue its concessions within Hilo Hattie stores.

The reorganization plan included the elimination of about $14 million in debt while repaying unsecured creditors 5 percent of what they are owed in equal installments over five years.

Another group will get 20 percent of what they are owed in a lump sum if the amounts are $1,000 or less.

A new management team is in place, including Mark Storfer as chief operating officer, David Jung as general counsel and Craig Bingham as chief financial officer.

The company has 174 employees and plans to maintain that number, according to Storfer.

Hilo Hattie recorded a loss of $617,535 for the month of August, increasing its post-bankruptcy losses to $8.3 million.

Besides a more contemporary logo, has been redesigned. Online shopping is expected to be available later this month in time for the holidays.