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)

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

Prospera Place in Kelowna. (Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
Kelowna Rockets return to the ice after COVID-19 quarantine

All individuals within the team cohort tested negative for COVID-19 earlier this week

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
Man arrested in West Kelowna for stealing police bait car

The suspect has been identified as Raymond Francis Thiffault of Kamloops, who already had an outstanding Canada-wide warrant.

Rose Valley Elementary School. (Contributed)
Central Okanagan School sees second COVID-19 exposure in two days

An exposure was identified at Rose Valley Elementary on April 12 and 13

(Natalia Cuevas-Huaico - Kelowna Capital News)
The Central Okanagan Food Bank said it has seen an increase in people who need help as the pandemic continues. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News/FILE)
Increase in families, seniors using Central Okanagan Food Bank as pandemic continues

Current restrictions have hit the Okanagan’s hospitality workers hard

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 total

An unidentified B.C. man said he was refused the job after refusing to wear a mask when asked by an on-site manager. (Unsplash)
Religious B.C. man lodges human rights complaint after fired for refusing to wear a mask

Workers claims ‘to cover up our face infringes on our God-given ability to breathe’ dismissed by B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

An oversight committee has been formed for an eco-village which will be constructed near Summerland’s proposed solar and battery storage project. (Black Press file photo)
Oversight committee formed for Summerland’s eco-village project

Initial meetings have been held to plan methodology

This 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 was stolen from Black Creek Motors at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, April 11. Photos via blackcreekmotors.com
VIDEO: B.C. car dealer posts clip of thieves towing a truck right off his lot

Video shows one white truck towing another off Vancouver Island lot

Bylaw enforcement officer Marcel Bedard sits behind the wheel of his 2004 Chevy Cavalier in 2017. He retired on April 9, 2021 after 24 years working for the City of Salmon Arm. (File photo)
Salmon Arm bylaw officer parks his parking tickets after 24 years

Despite the insults that go with the job, Marcel Bedard enjoyed his work for the city

FILE – People hold signs during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver on Saturday, August 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to request federal exemption for simple drug possession

Announcement comes on 5-year anniversary of B.C.’s first public health emergency

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, FIle)
Rare blood clots ‘may be linked’ to AstraZeneca vaccines: Health Canada

One case of the adverse effect has been reported in Canada

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Most Read