Forever 21, a California-based retailer, will open its largest Hawaii store next week at the Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki.
The trendy clothier for women, men and children will occupy 42,520 square feet near the Cheesecake Factory in the Diamond Head end of the center, formerly leased to Hilo Hattie. It will have a staff of 30 full-time and 300 part-time workers.
Forever 21 becomes the final anchor tenant at the Royal Hawaiian Center, which completed a $115 million revitalization project in June 2008.
The center still has a few restaurant and retail spaces that are empty, including the 21,000-square-foot former Level4 Nightclub. The center first opened in 1979 and is owned by Kamehameha Schools. The center is managed by The Festival Cos., which said it expects the property to be 95 percent leased by January.
The opening of the national retail giant with low prices is expected to change Waikiki’s retail landscape, bringing more competition to the marketplace.
"The good thing is they cater to what the public’s demanding, which is a good product for a lesser price," said retail analyst Stephany Sofos. "The negative is whenever you have a discounter come in, it sets a precedent and pressure for other retailers around them to compete. A lot of retailers cannot survive if they constantly have to put their items on sale."
Forever 21 is tentatively scheduled to open Sunday.
Forever 21 will open another store at the Royal Hawaiian Center
"The impending opening is generating a lot of excitement and anticipation," said Rosalind Schurgin, CEO of The Festival Cos. "We are delighted to have them join our collection of more than 100 retailers and restaurants."
The company will introduce its children’s clothing line for the first time in Hawaii. It also has locations at Ala Moana Center, Pearlridge Center and Queen Kaahumanu Center on Maui.
Forever 21’s strategy is based on bringing in fresh merchandise and changing the store layout daily. The company will use the Royal Hawaiian store to introduce more of its brand labels to the Hawaii market, including Heritage 1981, 21Men and Love 21 Contemporary, the company said.
"We are pleased to be opening the largest Forever 21 location in Hawaii," said Larry Meyer, company executive vice president. "Royal Hawaiian Center is an ideal shopping center for visitors and residents alike with a unique mix of both high-end and midrange retailers. We are thrilled to be there."
Forever 21 will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.