Skip to main content

Low-price fashion chain Forever 21, a one-time hot destination for teen shoppers that fell victim of its own rapid expansion and changing consumer tastes, announced Sept. 29, 2019, that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Associated Press

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 a wind-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.

Story continues below advertisement

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 e-mailed 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.

Story continues below advertisement

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 throwaway 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.

Story continues below advertisement

With files from The Canadian Press in Toronto.

Related topics

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies