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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Q&A: Retailer Macy's says it's here for long haul

 •  Macy's pledges to keep spirit of Liberty House
 •  Demise of Hawai'i's oldest retail store chain saddens many
 •  A look at Liberty House, FDS and Macy's
 •  Details of sale ensure most of 3,000 workers will be retained
 •  Liberty House buyer follows proven strategy
 •  Lee Cataluna: Liberty House came through for local folks
 •  Graphic: Liberty House chronology
What do you think of the Liberty House purchase? Join our discussion.

Advertiser Staff

Liberty House's larger stores, like this one in Pearlridge, are expected to stay open.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

Here is what you may want to know about the purchase of Liberty House by Macy's West, a division of Federated Department Stores.

Q. What is Macy's commitment to Hawai'i, especially if the local economy stays flat?

A. Macy's said it is making a long-term commitment to Hawai'i because "we believe in Hawai'i's future and we are committed to becoming an integral part of the community."

Q. What will be the name of the new company?

A. The stores will retain the Liberty House name for the near term, but will ultimately be converted to Macy's. Macy's said it is considering retaining some form of the Liberty House name but has not yet made a decision.

Q. What will happen to Liberty House employees?

A. Macy's executives say they expect to keep most of the 2,400 employees working in stores. For the nearly 400 management, administration and distribution personnel based in Honolulu, Macy's said it expects to cut a number of jobs because of duplication at Macy's West headquarters in San Francisco.

Q. What will Macy's merchandise mix be in Hawai'i?

A. The retailer said it wants to bring in national brands that "complement the Hawai'i lifestyle" and that it has not yet determined the exact mix. The company also said it was "very committed to providing Hawai'i merchandise."

Q. What happens to Liberty House credit cards and other programs?

A. Frequent-customer reward programs and credit-card accounts will be transferred to Macy's.

Q. Will Macy's keep The Pineapple Room at Ala Moana and other restaurants?

A. The company said the Pineapple Room is an important part of the Ala Moana store and restaurants like it are an important part of Macy's West. It said it will evaluate the in-store restaurants to see if any changes need to be made to continue its dining tradition.

Q. Why is Federated buying Liberty House?

A. Since the early 1990s, Liberty House has been battered by the Asian recession and the sluggish local economy. It only recently emerged from bankruptcy. Increased competition from Mainland retailers as well as its smaller scale and dependence on Hawai'i and Guam make it difficult for Liberty House to survive economic downturns. Federated has been interested in establishing a presence in Hawai'i for some time. In 1997, it looked at a possible purchase of Liberty House but considered the economy to be too uncertain. Federated said it now considers the timing to be right because Liberty House is a stronger company.

Q. Will Macy's continue Liberty House's well-known promotional events such as the Safari Sale?

A. Hawai'i will be incorporated into the Macy's sales promotion calendar, which means local shoppers will be offered the same kinds of sales as customers in other markets. The company said it will evaluate what has been successful for Liberty House to see if the concepts can be applied to its other stores.

Q. Will Macy's continue to support community service, the arts and cultural programs?

A. The company said Liberty House supports many of the same charitable causes that Macy's does and that it will work with community organizations to "explore ways to enhance these efforts and to create programs that address specific community concerns."