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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 31, 2002

DFS-Hawai'i to lose 20 jobs in companywide cuts

By Dan Nakaso
Advertiser Staff Writer

DFS-Hawai'i officials notified about 20 management and nonmanagement employees yesterday that their jobs would be eliminated as part of a companywide restructuring designed to help the world's largest travel retailer cope with the postiSept. 11 drop in business.

The DFS store in Waikiki has seen business plummet since Sept. 11 and the loss of Japanese tourists, mainstay of the chain's 40 Hawai'i stores.

Deborah Booker • The Honolulu Advertiser

The local cuts are part of a move by San Francisco-based DFS Group Ltd. to eliminate about 300 jobs worldwide. The group operates 150 stores with a total work force of approximately 7,000 — down from 9,000 two years ago.

The Hawai'i operation, which relies heavily on Japanese tourists, has seen sales fall by roughly 50 percent since Sept. 11, and its approximately 40 stores have lost millions of dollars.

Yesterday's layoffs come in addition to the Hawai'i operation's cutting 70 full-time employees and reducing hours equivalent to 300 workers last year.

The company reorganization announced yesterday includes consolidating some of its operations into two major groups — an Asia Group based in Singapore and a Pacific Group, which is headquartered in Hawai'i. The Pacific group includes a Hawai'i division and a Mid Pac division that covers Guam, Saipan and Palau.

The new Pacific Group has about 2,200 employees — about 1,300 of them in Hawai'i.

Bob Coe, who has been president of the Hawai'i region since 1999, will add Guam, Saipan and Palau to his responsibilities.

The approximately 20 positions that were eliminated for the Hawai'i group were divided between the main office and the stores, said Sharon Weiner, group vice president for business development, public and government relations. They included jobs in merchandising and sales and marketing.