I looks like Hilo Hattie, the originally Kauai-based store chain started in 1963, is fast coming to its demise. The ominous “we’re sorry” on their website is a sad indication of the conditions at hand. As you recall, we wrote about their problems last year both on May 10 and again on October 2.
The federal court trustee monitoring their bankruptcy has now asked that the filing be converted to a liquidation. The reasons are:
- Continual losses in bankruptcy
- Inability to open their planned Waikiki flagship store
- Failed reorganization attempts
Hilo Hattie has been plagued by a multitude of ongoing problems, not the least of which has been significantly reduced Hawaii visitor numbers over the past year. As we indicated previously, their other issues include:
- A focus on foreign vs. Hawaii-made merchandise
- The difficult credit market
- Multiple failed expansion attempts
- New ownership
The most unfortunate part is that Hilo Hattie employs about 200 Hawaii workers who are now facing unemployment.
We have so many memories of Hilo Hattie, and drive by their iconic locations frequently. Do you have any Hilo Hattie reminiscences you’d care to share?