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

Russell Jonathon George Gurney was last seen in Chilliwack in mid-December. (RCMP photo)
RCMP ask for help to find missing Abbotsford man last seen in Chilliwack

Police and family are concerned for the well-being of Russell Jonathon George Gurney

The Harrison Hot Springs village office, as seen from the back. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Harrison village staff to get additional office space

The village has agreed to spend up to $75,000 of the COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant on a new portable

Harrison Hot Springs kindergarten students held a peaceful protest Monday (Jan. 18) to end separated recess. The protest was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. and his lessons of non-violent action. Check out page XX for the whole story. (Dustin Neufeld/Contributed)
PHOTOS: Harrison students launch peaceful protest against playground division for MLK day

The kindergarten students negotiated with the school principal to enable recess on both playgrounds

Ottawa serial killer Camille Joseph Cleroux died of natural causes at Abbotsford’s Pacific Institution on Sunday.
Serial killer housed at Abbotsford’s Pacific Institution dies of natural causes

Camille Joseph Cleroux announced dead on Sunday, known as notorious Ottawa serial killer

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Most Read