Business

Forever 21 files for bankruptcy, plans to close stores in Asia, Europe

Fashion retailer Forever 21 filed for bankruptcy on Sunday, as it joined a growing list of brick-and-mortar players who have succumbed to the onslaught of e-commerce companies such as Amazon.

Since the start of 2017, more than 20 US retailers, including Sears Holdings Corp and Toys 'R' Us, have filed for bankruptcy as more customers shop online and eschew large malls.

Forever 21 said the restructuring will allow it to focus on the profitable core part of its operations and shut some international locations.

"We have requested approval to close up to 178 stores across the US. The decisions as to which domestic stores will be closing are ongoing, pending the outcome of continued conversations with landlords," the company said in an e-mail statement.

Founded in 1984, the retailer said it has 815 stores in 57 countries.

The company plans to close most of its stores in Asia and Europe, but not any major markets in the US.

There is one Forever 21 store in Singapore, at 313@Somerset. The Sharaf Group, based in the United Arab Emirates, is licensed to run it.

When The Straits Times visited the store yesterday, staff said that the Singapore store is not closing.

When asked, Lendlease, which runs 313@Somerset, said it had not been notified of any change to the lease for the Forever 21 store.

"Forever 21 is trading well and has been a tenant at 313@somerset since 2009 when the mall commenced operations," said a mall spokesman. "We have not been notified of any change to their lease." - REUTERS

BUSINESS & FINANCE