DFS Hawaii to lay off 165 due to dropping tourism numbers
Due to Hawaii’s decreasing tourism numbers, around 165 layoffs are expected across 3 DFS Hawaii locations: the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport; and the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole, and the T Galleria by DFS, Hawaii.
Most of the layoffs will take place today with immediate effect. Eligible workers will receive severance packages based on years of service. DFS is making on-site counselors available to employees to begin assisting them with the transition.
Layoffs include employees from nearly all departments – management, sales, operations, and clerical.
Tim DeLessio, president of global store operations for Hong Kong-based DFS Group was in town today to assist DFS Hawaii with breaking the news to local employees.
DFS’s airport concessions at the then-named Honolulu International Airport was the company’s first duty free shop in the United States. The company’s flagship store in Waikiki, now named T Galleria by DFS, Hawaii, first opened in 1975 and is now the chain’s sixth largest galleria store in the world.
Vice president of corporate communications for Hong-Kong headquartered DFS Group, Jay Frame, said the steep decline in visitor spending and diminishing travel demand from key international markets, coupled with the cost of doing business in Hawaii, led to the layoffs. Another major factor was the significant spread of the retail sector statewide, which has increased the competitive environment for retailers.