Forever 21 intends to close over 350 stores after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection


The Forever 21 store located in the Phoenix Marketcity. Forever 21 is having discussions of closing more than 350 stores out of the 800 stores they currently run. Photo from Wikimedia Commons, used with permission under fair use.

Expanding globally since the first Forever 21 opening in Los Angeles 1984, the clothing store with styles from Cheetos clothes to $5 graphic tees announced to customers about filing for bankruptcy, Sept. 29. 

Despite rumors began to spread about the retailer’s bankruptcy, Joy Jeung was still shocked about the announcement. 

“Back in early September, I heard about Forever 21 starting to be in bankruptcy from my mom. I just thought less about it because I feel our store at the [Westfield] Galleria won’t be affected, but then I saw Forever 21’s post about it. I was honestly shocked because that store outside has been there since I was basically a child and I actually do like some of their simpler styles. I just feel weird about the whole situation because the store has been here for so long that you do not think about them having troubles with their economics,” Jeung said. 

The company’s website said the voluntary choice of going under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy code will allow for the stores to operate normally as the business can reorganize. 

According to the United States Courts, Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code initiates a plan of reorganization to maintain a business by paying the creditors over a period of time. 

However, the chances of the store changing led for Chelsea Vu to get her clothes from other retailers.

“The main reason I shopped at Forever 21 was because they catered towards smaller sizes. Since I have a small form, I found it easier to shop at the store even if they have weird clothes from time to time. If the store were to change, I will shop mainly at Q. Their style is mainly simple clothes or can be a little fancier, which I enjoy as Forever 21 sold that similar style, and they aren’t super expensive compared to stores like Aeropastel or American Eagle,” Vu said. 

Multiple causes catalyzed the debts of the retail store, however a factor that piled up on the bankruptcy filing was pop singer Ariana Grande’s $10 million lawsuit against Forever 21. 

“Lawyers for Grande allege that Forever 21 subsequently plagiarised imagery from the video for Grande’s single 7 Rings for an advertising campaign… Grande’s lawsuit 

alleges that her right to publicity was violated, along with false endorsement, trademark infringement and copyright infringement,” the Guardian said. 

Other causes led to Forever 21’s bankruptcy, however the bankruptcy is leading to a chance of over 350 stores deducted globally

“The company said it plans to “exit most international locations in Asia and Europe” but would continue to operate in Mexico and Latin America. A Forever 21 spokesperson said the retailer expected to have between 450 and 500 stores globally after this process, down from its current total of about 800,” BBC News said. 

Although the bankruptcy, Alicia Chiang does not feel affected if the store were to close at the Westfield Galleria. 

“The times that I do go in [Forever 21], my friends and I will try on some of their most outrageous clothing items. It’s always a good laugh seeing someone walk out of the changing room with our gold sequin leggings or some other crazy outfit combo we put together. Even if the physical stores close, I don’t think Forever 21 will disappear online, so I haven’t given it too much thought or concern,” Chiang said. 

With multiple closures planned, the Westfield Galleria Forever 21 store has still yet to be confirmed for any changes according to Sacramento Business Journal’s Digital editor Sonya Sorich. 

Soich said there are discussions of the two-story Forever 21 being moved to a smaller space in the center of the mall based from real estate brokerage JLL’s leasing materials.