After a summer of struggling to avoid it, Forever 21 on Sunday night (September 29, 2019) waved the white flag and declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. As part of restructuring, the California-based company will shutter operations in a total 40 countries, including Canada.
Currently the chain operates 800 stores with plans to close a total of 350 locations, including 178 in the United States. The chain’s website will remain operational. Liquidation sales at stores that are slated to close will likely begin as soon as October 31st.
Forever 21 will also shutter its 15-store Riley Rose format with aspects of the beauty-themed chain incorporated into remaining Forever 21 locations. At the same time, the company says it plans to reduce Forever 21 floorspace dedicated to home décor, electronics and cosmetics.
Forever 21 didn’t pay rent on its stores for the month of September and hopes to renegotiate leases, in particular large format stores in malls where landlords will have trouble finding a replacement tenant.
If all goes according to plan, the chain will still operate a total 450 stores though that number will depend on a number of negotiations and financial factors out of Forever 21’s control.