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Sears store at Ala Moana Center will close sometime in 2013

By Alan Yonan

LAST UPDATED: 12:47 p.m. HST, Feb 23, 2012

Sears said today it will sell its Ala Moana Center store to the mall’s owner and close the venerable retail establishment sometime next year.

The sale is part of a move by Sears to sell 11 stores in nine states to General Growth Properties for $270 million, the retailer said. The transactions are expected to close in 45 to 60 days, the company said.

Sears will continue to operate the stores into 2013. Final closing dates will be announced later this year.

The Sears store was one of the original tenants when Ala Moana opened in 1959.

The chain, led by billionaire Eddie Lampert, has faced slumping sales as consumers turn elsewhere for goods such as clothes and appliances. Investors have long speculated that Lampert’s long-range plan could be to unlock the value of the company’s massive real estate holdings. The company reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $2.4 billion.

Sears plans were well received by investors and shares rose 7 percent in morning trading.

Chief Executive Officer Lou D’Ambrosio said in the statement that the company was taking “immediate actions” to address the losses, including cost and inventory reductions, targeted marketing and hiring for its merchandising team.

“We’re executing actions to unlock the value of our portfolio and assets,” D'Ambrosio said in a call with analysts.

The company said Dec. 27 it would close as many as 120 Sears and Kmart stores to generate as much as $170 million in cash from inventory and lease sales.

“We will make the difficult decisions required to position Sears Holdings for the future and we will not accept such poor performance without making substantial adjustments,” Lampert said today. “We have a portfolio of businesses and assets that deserve to generate substantial value for our shareholders.”

Sears spokeswoman Kimberly Freely said the sale of the stores made “good business sense” for Sears and General Growth and was not necessarily tied to performance. She said the company does not discloses sales figures for specific stores.

“These are always difficult decisions for the company whenever we close any of the stores,” she said.

Sears has invested less money in stores than competitors as declining sales sap its earnings. Big box rivals like Wal-Mart and others typically spend anywhere from $6 to $8 per square foot on annual maintenance, which would including updating cash registers, replacing floor tiles and repainting, according to research firm International Strategy & Investment Group. But Sears over the past few years has only spent on average anywhere from $1.50 to $2.00.

A top General Growth official said the move “represents a significant opportunity to recapture valuable real estate within our portfolio.”

Ala Moana Center is General Growth’s most productive mall with sales surpassing $1,200 per square foot, said Shobi Khan, the company’s chief operating officer.

“This acquisition also enhances several expansion and redevelopment opportunities including re-tenanting the anchor space and adding new in-line GLA (gross leasable area,” Khan said.

Sears has about 850 full-line stores nationwide. General Growth owns or has an interest in 136 regional shopping malls with 143 million square feet of leasable space in the U.S.

Over the next several years General Growth expects to add 319,000 square feet of new space at its malls, mostly at Ala Moana Center, he said.

Bloomberg News and the Associated Press contributed to this story.


Send us your memories of Sears at Ala Moana. E-mail your recollections or photos to business@staradvertiser.com. Include a phone number if you are willing to talk to a reporter.

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gth wrote:
Oh no... Mass protest...
on February 23,2012 | 08:11AM
kuewa wrote:
I agree. Petition? Emails? Twitter?
on February 23,2012 | 11:49AM
Vivgie wrote:
NO. Just go shop there starting NOW.
on February 23,2012 | 02:21PM
CriticalReader wrote:
Makes sense. Japanese Tourists don't like Sears. And, after all, Ala Moana exists for tourists, not us.
on February 23,2012 | 09:16AM
Tony91 wrote:
some locals don't like sears much either....
on February 23,2012 | 12:32PM
allie wrote:
bad service and poor quality products..especially the kenmore applciances.
on February 23,2012 | 01:22PM
allie wrote:
Chinese tourists don't want Sears. They want gambling. And they shall get it I am told
on February 23,2012 | 01:26PM
chstephie wrote:
Ala Moana is way to expensive for this canadian tourist...but it is a pretty mall to walk around in
on February 23,2012 | 09:58PM
butinski wrote:
You could see this coming. Sears in Hawaii has outlived its past golden days. To me, it is no longer a magnet at Ala Moana and the question becomes what will General Growth do with the property? Sad but competition has killed Sears.
on February 23,2012 | 09:16AM
serious wrote:
You are right, it just hasn't kept up with the times and trends. I was there yesterday, TRYING to check out. SLOW, move it, move it, get them, in let them buy and get them out!!
on February 23,2012 | 10:14AM
IAmSane wrote:
Are you serious (haha)? Sounds like it's not Sears who has the problem--you just have an issue with patience.
on February 23,2012 | 09:53PM
Changalang wrote:
' "It is important to note that we are an asset rich enterprise with multiple resources that dash at our disposal, which we believe provides us with ample financial flexibility," Chief Financial Officer Robert Schriesheim said on a rare conference call on Thursday. The company's sales have fallen every year since it was formed by hedge fund [cnbc explains] manager Edward Lampert in 2005 through the merger of two of the most iconic American chains in an $11 billion deal. ' (CNBC, today) ........ Sleep with devil and wake up sore.
on February 23,2012 | 09:17AM
Anonymous wrote:
Bummahs! !I bought my first 10-speed bike in 1972 for $80 at Sears Ala Moana. At lot of money for a guy only making $1.60 per hour! I miss the old Ala Moana. Back in the day, Ala Moana was for us locals, not the tourists. Does anyone know what "original" stores still survive? I can only think of Shirokiya.
on February 23,2012 | 09:39AM
imua67 wrote:
I think Foodland and Longs Drugs ..
on February 23,2012 | 10:05AM
Changalang wrote:
Post office?
on February 23,2012 | 10:28AM
what wrote:
Is that crack seed store still there?
on February 23,2012 | 10:41AM
kuewa wrote:
NO :(
on February 23,2012 | 11:45AM
SteveToo wrote:
How about the Country Western clothing shop? I know it's been there as long as I've shopped there.
on February 23,2012 | 10:52AM
MakaniKai wrote:
I know....bummahs! I rarely go to Ala Moana anymore. Sad it shifted toward the tourist dollar, but hey that's where the kala is at. Aloha.
on February 23,2012 | 10:55AM
kennie1933 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on February 23,2012 | 01:27PM
hanailp wrote:
Yes, Keiki Land is what I think it was called. Oh for the simpler times! sigh...
on February 23,2012 | 02:54PM
IAmSane wrote:
I like Sera's but everything in there is so expensive. Still, I'd rather support a locally-owned shop rather than a big, soulless corporation.
on February 23,2012 | 09:57PM
waikane_honolulu wrote:
Thinks Robins and HIC and T&C are still there. See's and Thom's. No more Tilt, McDonalds looking out into Foodland or Woolworth's.
on February 23,2012 | 03:03PM
Manapua_Man wrote:
As a kid, I liked Shirokiya because they had the Kikaida/Kamen Rider stuff... and Sears, because their catalog had cool GI Joe toys and kid's chemistry sets.
on February 23,2012 | 04:17PM
kekelaward wrote:
Slipper House? Is Iida's still in the SC? I know they moved somewhere else in the SC a while ago.
on February 23,2012 | 07:26PM
Vivgie wrote:
Our fault. Now who will carry the Kenmore brand appliances? Who will hire all the employees?
on February 23,2012 | 10:14AM
kennie1933 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on February 23,2012 | 01:28PM
what wrote:
Yep. K-Mart bought Sears some years ago. You can go to Iwilei K-Mart to buy Craftsman tools and Sears appliances now.
on February 23,2012 | 01:46PM
princessleiya wrote:
Now I will not know where to buy my household appliances or where to get my watch battery. Certainly sad news for all of us who grew up with Sears....i remember the Old Sears and the peanut lady too,
on February 23,2012 | 10:16AM
Vivgie wrote:
Here's an alternative for watch batteries. Go to Shirokiya. There's a very nice Japanese gentleman who will do it for a reasonable price. So cheap you will want to take ALL your watches to him before you fly on a trip. Cheaper than the Sears watch guy. No joke.
on February 23,2012 | 01:04PM
Kmart has Kenmore appliances and you can get your watch battery replaced in Chinatown for $5 at Quang Watch Repair on King St near Oahu Market.
on February 23,2012 | 01:14PM
what wrote:
It doesn't sound like Sears' new owners are interested in making Sears a success. It sounds like they are only interested in raiding its real estate assets for easy cash. Sears Ala Moana is a very valuable property. The investors and owners of Sears keep say "We’re executing actions to unlock the value of our portfolio and assets", and they are only investing a fraction of the money to update the stores that would be normal.
on February 23,2012 | 10:22AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
This shouldn't come as a big surprise to Hawaii. Sears could not keep up with the times. One thing I've noticed over the years is Sears does not have really good customer service. Most of their floor sales people are not helpful and just stand around. Is Sears still at Pearlridge? Is there one in Windward Mall?
on February 23,2012 | 10:26AM
likewise wrote:
There is still one at Windward Mall. The last time I was there (holiday season) I knew I wasn't going back. There was one cashier for the whole bottom floor and the line was horrendous and slow moving and the cash registers kept bugging out and they would have start the customers transactions all over again. Furthermore, mrluke is right that most of their stuff was tacky and the store was a mess. It's a shame. I used to work for them about ten years ago and back then the store was kept very neat and there were numerous cashier stations for the customers. I won't be surprised if they close too.
on February 23,2012 | 11:05AM
allie wrote:
True...Lowes ate their lunch
on February 23,2012 | 01:24PM
mrluke wrote:
The last time I visited the Ala Moana Sears I was appalled and found it cheap and tacky looking. I couldn't believe what had become of it. The Sears at Pealridge is still well kept and staffed with helpful employees. Hard to figure.
on February 23,2012 | 10:53AM
olos73 wrote:
That's because Pearlridge hasn't gone "tourist crazy" like Ala Moana Shopping Center. At least Pearlridge they're pretty much catering to locals. Hope it doesn't turn into Ala Moana SC. Tourists can go to Waikele Outlets if they want mainland company stuff.
on February 23,2012 | 11:22AM
allie wrote:
cater to military also
on February 23,2012 | 01:25PM
islandsun wrote:
Not Surprised!
on February 23,2012 | 11:14AM
iwanaknow wrote:
Sad, my first "real" job was working in the paint department at Sear's as a teenager back in the day. I passed through Sear's Windward Mall yesterday.....I wouldn't be surprised if they closed. I'll miss them. My uncle Paul Kekuewa wore a malo and blew a conch shell at Sear's Ala Moana on opening day back in 1959.
on February 23,2012 | 11:33AM
TitaNui wrote:
Ai ya! Fewer and fewer places for locals to go. Every time I go, I remember the "boiled peanut lady" and wish she was still there, hot cashews and popcorn downstairs next to the toy department, and the awesome fireworks display (for a 5 yr. old) that our family went to see from the 2nd level parking lot when the shopping center opened. Sounds like General Growth just can't wait to retenant the space. More shopping for tourists... like we needed that!
on February 23,2012 | 11:50AM
hanailp wrote:
Yes! They had the best popcorn there and the toy department was amazing. Remember catalog shopping at Christmas? My family moved to the mainland in the early 70's but Sears was the go to place for all of our shopping back in the day. Oh well, the only thing you can count on is change!
on February 23,2012 | 02:53PM
kekelaward wrote:
I loved the smell of the popcorn as I rode the escalator down to the street level. And being simple, I spent alot of time watching the beachball/vacuum cleaner display...
on February 23,2012 | 07:39PM
hanoz808 wrote:
i haven't shopped there in years
on February 23,2012 | 11:54AM
hanoz808 wrote:
protest ala moana
on February 23,2012 | 11:54AM
f8ldzz wrote:
You telling me Windward & Pearlridge Mall locations are going to stay open and better options to stay open? WTF???
on February 23,2012 | 12:04PM
kekelaward wrote:
Those two stores cater more to locals and our military personnel, rather than tourists. Also,the rent at AMSC must be prohibitively expensive....especially when you're not moving product.
on February 23,2012 | 07:43PM
MARK wrote:
SEARS Credit Card is a Rip Off !!
on February 23,2012 | 12:21PM
ardee wrote:
Agree, i had to close mine because they started charging me an annual fee.
on February 23,2012 | 12:46PM
KeithHaugen wrote:
Recalling the sad moment when Sears closed the Pawa`a store ... now this. We miss Penney's and we'll miss Sears. Soon there will not be any stores for the folks who can't afford the fancy European outlets.
on February 23,2012 | 12:23PM
Tony91 wrote:
maybe Penny's will come back? They are on a tear on the mainland....
on February 23,2012 | 12:31PM
loio wrote:
you mean, other than Walmart, Sam's Club, Best Buy and all the other places which have proliferated around town for local people to shop at, with lower prices?
on February 23,2012 | 01:28PM
Tony91 wrote:
This will likely mean the end of Sears in Hawaii as a whole. Why would they continue with their other stores and warehouse facilities to support a few 2nd rate volume stores? Frankly, I think it is a good thing they close here. The stores have little to offer outside of their appliances. They can go the way of the dodo bird along with Hilo Hattie -another retailer that has outlived it's usefulness.
on February 23,2012 | 12:30PM
hilopango wrote:
Sears Ala Moana is my go-to place for all kinds of things...clothes that were made for regular women and not a Barbie doll, Craftsman hardware with a darned good warranty, appliances, tire repair, great shorts and shirts for my husband, and so much more. Friends and family all know that if they're going to get me a gift card, it should be for Sears. Yes, the Ala Moana store was a bit run down but I didn't go there for the ambiance, I went there for the great deals and the products I needed.
on February 23,2012 | 12:36PM
saveparadise wrote:
Pearl Ridge Sears: No employees around to help you. When I finally got one the person knew absolutely nothing.
on February 23,2012 | 01:17PM
syhud wrote:
Went to Sears auto dept. Ala Moana last month with a nail in my tire. This young punk auto clerk refused to fix my tire. Said that the nail was set in at an angle and I had to purchase a new tire. Told him f- you punk! You trying to rip me off! Went to Lex Brodie's, no problem there. In fact they didn't charge me also. Always heard Sears auto dept. is a scam. Thank you Karma!
on February 23,2012 | 02:22PM
Tony91 wrote:
Sears and stores like Hilo Hattie are obsolete. Inferior products and service. I don't think I will miss either of these retailers from Ala Moana center.
on February 23,2012 | 02:24PM
LittleEarl_01 wrote:
Unfortunately over the last 10 years, SEARS has declined in appearance, product availability and selection, and especially customer service. Where there was once wide uncluttered aisles, now filled with clothing racks almost to the point of making passage impossible. In order to increase profits they started carrying cheaper clothes made overseas, but yet prices did not indicate this to the buying public. Centralized checkout counter or two slowed the checkout times, if you could find one open. I agree with another poster who stated that customer service and employee knowledge is severely lacking.
on February 23,2012 | 03:50PM
SOLID3 wrote:
Just bought some tires for my truck last week from a women sales person and had my tires mounted by another women. They did a excelent job and the deal on the tires were great. BFG All Terrain TKO's
on February 23,2012 | 03:53PM
edvislee wrote:
If you stand in the long lines at Sears, you notice that there are very few checkout registers and that it's nearly impossible to get competent assistance. Plus, while you're standing in those long lines each cashier will literally pester each customer about opening a Sears charge card- and ask them to fill out the application right then and there while everyone is waiting in line grinding their teeth!. Good job Sears! I hope you're not mystified about why you're failing. Nowadays we simply shop at Walmart. Good riddance!
on February 23,2012 | 03:55PM
ejkorvette wrote:
Oh No, First Mom and Pop stores, then Liberty House and now Sears! Surely a big piece of Hawaiiana will be taken away and never replaced. Hopefully the State will recognize that bail-outs are available providing that the stores, places, business's will make the necessary upgrades and changes to accomodate and generate more dollars and interests with shoppers. Changing Times. Sad yeah?
on February 23,2012 | 04:41PM
kekelaward wrote:
Errr...our State bailing out Sears? I don't really think that's what our taxes are for.
on February 23,2012 | 07:57PM
niimi wrote:
When I do shop at Ala Moana Center it is because of Sears. After next year I will have zero reason to ever shop at Ala Moana Center. JC Penny used to cover the mid-range brands, which is where most people at the middle tier income shops. Sears had filled that void a little bit, but now there will be no middle tier place. Sears was where you could shop while getting you tires or battery work done or even other work. I don't care for clothing or much other stuff at Wal-Mart or Costco so such places will lose my business, too.
on February 23,2012 | 05:15PM
niimi wrote:
If there was a time to consider moving to the mainland it would be now. You can get place lunches there now and the frozen Zippy's stuff. All the government wants to do is to tax you to death here. Easier life up there. Probably half the housing cost.
on February 23,2012 | 05:18PM
Anonymous wrote:
This is a sad day. As far back as I can remember (back to 1960), Sears was an anchor store at Ala Moana. Heck, I can still remember when Sears was closed on weekends!
on February 23,2012 | 05:52PM
63crusader wrote:
I'm retired now and living on the mainland but have fond memories of Sears at Ala Moana. I remember when it was nothing but coral dredged from off Ala Moana Park. It was such a beautiful store when it was new. It was sad that Ala Moana killed Fort Street but some day Ala Moana will be obsolete as well. Sears turned it's back on customers when all the hedge funds and bankers got involved. They don't mind running institutions into the ground they just move their money some place else! They don't care about jobs! Sears used to have great clothes but nobody is buying the crap they have now! Being retired now fashion is not too important for me so I buy my clothes at COSTCO and get myself a cheap hotdog and pizza slice. By the way anyone remember how great the pizza slice at the Woolworth's on Fort street was?
on February 23,2012 | 06:14PM
coloradowarrior wrote:
Aloha oe....
on February 23,2012 | 07:07PM
awahana wrote:
Going the way of JC Penney, Woolworth, Kress, and Wigwam...
on February 23,2012 | 07:34PM
pyomama wrote:
To Princessleiya, the peanut lady was Mrs. Isomura. Long time ago.
on February 23,2012 | 07:52PM
HD36 wrote:
The begining of the economic financial collapse is here. Inflationionary depression is coming. America can't afford more wars or as they call it military intervention.
on February 23,2012 | 08:21PM
aomohoa wrote:
I only go to the mall for the Mochie stand:)
on February 23,2012 | 08:23PM
kennie1933 wrote:
I guess it's just changing times. Those of us who are 50 of course see Sears as a kama'aina store but if you think about it, it's really just another mainland chain store as was Woolworths and JC Penneys. I don't know of too many completely Hawaii-owned department stores. Arakawa's (though only one store in Waipahu), and maybe Holiday Mart? When today's kids are 50 , they might be telling THEIR children how they remember Walmart, K-Mart, Target..... In fact, the way things are nowadays with the internet, stores might just close down all together and just have warehouse distribution sites to fill online orders. Now THAT would be truly sad.
on February 23,2012 | 11:09PM
imua67 wrote:
And Gems store....but da best boiled peanuts was at the old stadium.
on February 24,2012 | 05:07AM
63crusader wrote:
Remember Wigwam...Hawaii's first "Box Store".
on February 24,2012 | 05:42AM
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