As Target prepares to open next month in Ala Moana, some merchants are hoping it will revive the center’s mauka wing. Pacific Business News editor-in-chief A. Kam Napier has more.
It was just seven years ago that Ala Moana Center celebrated the grand opening of its mauka wing, adding two levels of new stores that ended on Kapiolani Boulevard at a Nordstrom department store. A year ago, Nordstrom moved to the new ewa wing and, according to merchants PBN spoke with in the mauka wing, foot traffic dropped off greatly. And it isn’t just Nordstrom. The Oli Oli shuttle run by JTB for Japanese visitors, for example, moved its facility from area near the mauka wing to the ewa wing as well.
The decline in foot traffic has made for a tough year for the remaining mauka wing tenants. For example, JR Cambe, store manager for Guess, says his store considered a move to the Intenational Market Place, but instead, reconfigured itself into a Guess outlet store, in hopes that lower prices will lure shoppers.
A Saks Off Fifth outlet store opened recently in the former Nordstrom space, but mauka wing tenants say it hasn’t helped them much, as its entrance is hard to find. What they’re hoping is the Target store, slated to open October 18, will reenergize the entire wing. The Target store will fill two and a half floors of the former Nordstrom building, offering some 136,000 square feet of big-box deals.
Summer Shiige, store manager for BareMinerals, thinks the Target store will attract a more economically diverse demographic of shoppers than Nordstrom did, which should benefit all the mauka wing tenants.