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Price Busters closing all 8 Hawaii stores by mid-January

By Kristen Consillio

POSTED: 03:47 p.m. HST, Dec 13, 2013

The owner of Price Busters said it is closing all eight Hawaii stores next month, laying off about 190 employees.

Retail Partners Hawaii, a venture formed in 2010 by The MacNaughton Group and Kobayashi Group to purchase the discount chain out of bankruptcy, said it has worked "diligently to fund the business and manage operations in an attempt to turn it profitable," but failed to drive margins sufficiently to cover the increasing costs of business.

"The seasonal promotional windows were not enough to drive top line revenue, while revenue and margin were also being diluted by increased competition," Jeff Arce, partner and chief financial officer at The MacNaughton Group, said in a statement. "Another key factor has been the ongoing increases in the cost of operating the business, including utilities, occupancy, shipping, health care and other benefits."

Price Busters plans to liquidate all merchandise in the stores over the holidays and said it will heavily discount items until they are sold.

The company said it has notified all workers at its stores that will close by mid-January.

"Of course this was an incredibly difficult decision and you never want to put people out of a job," Arce said. "Ironically that is one of the reasons we bought the business in the first place. We did save jobs and kept rent in place for three more years and we invested a lot of money doing so, but of course we still feel bad for everyone."

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