Sears expanding at Kukui Grove Center

LIHU’E – Sears plans to demonstrate its “confidence” in the Kaua’i market by expanding at Kukui Grove Center before the end of this year.

The store will start selling apparel, home furnishings and virtually all other “soft goods” except shoes when it takes over an additional 32,000 square feet of the mall.

The added space will also be used as a warehouse, a Sears official said.

There is no definite date for the expansion, but the time around Thanksgiving is the target, said Phil Chang, district advertising manager for Sears in Honolulu. The opening depends on the length of renovations, he added.

Sears, which sold clothing at Kukui Grove years ago before scaling back to sell only merchandise such as barbecues and other hard goods (which it will continue to market in its existing store), will become one of only two department stores with apparel at the mall. Since the closure of the J.C.

Penney outlet, Liberty House is the only other large clothing retailer.

Chang said the Sears expansion is a sign of the retailer’s “increasing confidence in Kaua’i” as a viable market.

Kaua’i County’s Office of Economic Development deferred comments to Mayor Maryanne Kusaka, who said Sears “certainly has faith in our local economy. What they’re doing is very encouraging. It will be nice for Kukui Grove, too.”

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