The national retail discounter T.J. Maxx is set to open 3 stores on Oahu in May. T.J. Maxx is very similar to Ross Dress for Less, and all three stores will be near Ross stores and offer direct competition.
T. J Maxx was actually in Hawaii before, some fifteen years ago for those of you who remember that. Maxx was eventually shut down in Hawaii after being unable to make it in the local market. So what has changed now? The economy is probably the biggest factor, as everyone is looking for discounted deals now and that is exactly what T.J. Maxx offers.
So, after a 15-year absence from Hawaii, T.J. Maxx is set to open 3 large stores on Oahu. The discount retail chain will open a 35,000-square-foot store at Ward Centers, followed by a second outlet at Pearl Highlands Center and then another at Pearlridge Center’s Uptown by mid-May. The company didn’t disclose how many employees it intends to hire for the stores, but we all know that this means several hundred more jobs for Hawaii, so that is a great aspect of it.
The retailer will fill the second floor of the two-story Ward Village Shops complex on Auahi Street. The space was previously leased to Whole Foods Market and is adjacent to a new 732-stall parking garage. This will allow T.J. Maxx to not only open in a pretty big space, but also help Ward Centers with more foot traffic, plus there is plenty parking available.
T.J. Maxx is a direct rival to Ross stores, and Ross has stores in the exact locations that T.J. Maxx is planning to open their three stores. Coincidence? I think not. Is there enough to go around, or will one force closure of the other? Ross, which opened late last year a nearly 40,000-square-foot megastore in Waikiki. There are Ross stores located in Pearl Highlands, Pearlridge and Ward Gateway Center.
“When you go head to head with your competition, what it does is it actually creates synergy,” said Honolulu retail consultant Stephany Sofos. “You’re going to go where the competition is, and if you can provide slightly better service and better product, you’re going to gain market share very quickly. They feed off each other and capture the whole market base for discount retailing.”
This should be interesting to watch play out. Ross is pretty popular in the islands. T.J. Maxx couldn’t make it last time out in the islands, yet somehow this time feels different. Hopefully they can coexist. T.J. Maxx will bring with it a bunch of jobs, but if it forces Ross out of business it actually doesn’t add anything to the job market in Hawaii.
We will see. I say they coexist since there are so many people looking for bargains now.