No Walgreens

LIHUE — The first Walgreens on Kauai will not be opening after all, at least not in the Hokulei Village shopping center under construction in Lihue.

Walgreens spokesman Philip Caruso said the decision was based on review of the geographic market presence and performance of its stores, including existing locations and future-planned stores, conducted over the past year.

“As a part of this process, we conducted a comprehensive financial reassessment of our plans to open a new store in Kauai and have concluded that it is not in our company’s best interests to move forward with opening a store in that location,” Caruso wrote in an email. “One factor was the rise in construction costs on Kauai since the project was first proposed.”

The news of Walgreens pulling out of the project leaves a hole at Hokulei Village, which is expected to include Jack in the Box, Petco and Chevron, as well as a 56,000-square-foot Safeway Lifestyles store, which will be the anchor tenant of a long-awaited 14.25-acre complex.

The village, which has been in the planning since 2008, is expected to open late this year.

The news also comes on the heels of a decision by Walgreens officials to implement a $1 billion cost-reduction initiative over the next three fiscal years.

These plans, released last week as a part of the company’s second quarter earnings report, include plans to close roughly 200 stores nationwide; reorganize corporate and field operations; drive operating efficiencies; and streamline information technology and other functions.

These cost-cutting programs, Walgreens officials estimate, will increase the total expected cost savings program to $1.5 billion by the end of the 2017 fiscal year.

“These actions are designed to restructure and invest in the company’s future in a way that is better for customers and simpler for employees, resulting in a faster and more agile company,” Walgreens officials wrote in their second quarter earnings report.

No specific decisions, however, have been made on which stores will be closed, including any of their stores on the Big Island, Oahu or Maui.

“The list is still being finalized and we do not have any specific locations to share,” Caruso said. “To put this into context, Walgreens operates more than 8,200 stores in all 50 states. We are not focusing on any specific geographic area.”

The Carlsbad, California-based development company in January purchased all of the assets owned by Property Development Centers, LLC, including 11 completed retail shopping centers and Hokulei Village, for $830 million.

Emails and phone calls were not returned by press time on Friday from Terramar Retail Centers, which purchased Hokulei Village from Safeway’s development arm, Property Development Centers, LLC in January.

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