Lights illuminate a Forever 21 before the store opens on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019, at Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga, N.Y. Forever 21 has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The privately held company based in Los Angeles said Sunday, Sept. 20, that it will close up to 178 stores in the U.S. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)

Forever 21 fashion chain closing all Canadian stores in global restructuring

Up to 178 locations in the United States will also close

Low-price fashion chain Forever 21, a once-hot destination for teen shoppers, will close all 44 of its Canadian stores and up to 178 locations in the United States while restructuring its global business under bankruptcy protection.

The Los Angeles-based company announced Sunday that it had filed for protection under U.S. and Canadian laws and confirmed Monday that it plans an “orderly wide-down” of the entire Canadian business.

“Forever 21 has made the difficult decision to discontinue further financial and operational support for Forever 21 Canada as we reposition the brand and global business to adapt to the current retail environment,” it said in a statement.

The company said it would focus on maximizing the value of its stores in the United States, where it had 500 locations prior to the downsizing.

“All 44 Forever 21 Canada stores in Canada will close before the end of the year and we have plans to liquidate our store inventory in the near term,” the company said in an emailed statement.

“Canadian customers can continue to shop our curated assortment of merchandise on our U.S. website.”

Forever 21 will also close most of its locations in Asia and Europe but will continue operating in Mexico and Latin America.

The numbers show the crisis facing traditional retailers. So far this year, publicly traded U.S. retailers have announced they will close 8,558 stores and open 3,446, according to the global research firm Coresight Research. That compares with 5,844 closures and 3,258 openings in all of 2018.

Coresight estimates the store closures could number 12,000 by the end of 2019.

The Canadian retail scene has undergone similar trends but hasn’t been an exact copy of the United States.

Payless ShoeSource closed its 248 Canadian stores after filing for bankruptcy in February. However, Toys R Us Canada continues to operate as a separate business despite the closure of its American and British counterparts.

Forever 21 was founded in 1984 and, along with other so-called fast fashion chains like H&M and Zara, rode a wave of popularity among young customers that took off in the mid-1990s.

Their popularity grew during the Great Recession, when shoppers sought fashion bargains.

But over the last year or so, fast fashion has fallen out of style. Young customers are losing interest in throw-away clothes and are more interested in buying eco-friendly products. They’re also gravitating toward rental and online second-hand sites like Thredup, where they see clothes worn again instead of ending up in a landfill.

These trends are happening while discounters like Target have spruced up their fashion assortments, stealing away customers.

Forever 21 has also been more vulnerable than some other chains because of its large footprints in major malls, which are attracting fewer shoppers.

ALSO READ: How long to save up for down payment in Vancouver? One study says 52 years

— With files from The Canadian Press in Toronto.

The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Nicole Halbauer seeks B.C. NDP nomination for Skeena riding

Halbauer is the current Chair of the Board of Directors at Coast Mountain College

Save our Children demonstration held in Terrace

Advocates call for tougher sentences, more public information

MLA rides bike from Terrace to Kitimat

Ride was to raise awareness for cancer

City, Regional District asking Terrace residents to complete housing survey

The Housing Needs Assessment Survey will help to better understand the state of housing in the city

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

B.C.’s 1st mental health and addictions minister won’t be seeking re-election

MLA Judy Darcy is the fifth cabinet minister not intending to run in the next election

Vancouver’s shuttered aquarium searching for financial solution amid pandemic

The aquarium needs about $1 million a month to cover its costs

B.C., Alberta sending nearly 300 fire personnel by Friday to help battle wildfires in Oregon

Some 230 firefighters, most from British Columbia but including a number from Alberta, will be deployed Friday

Most Read