Forever 21 files for bankruptcy putting hundreds of stores at risk of closure

30 September 2019, 12:28 | Updated: 30 September 2019, 12:30

Forever 21 has announced it will be closing hundreds of stores worldwide
Forever 21 has announced it will be closing hundreds of stores worldwide. Picture: PA Images/Forever 21
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Forever 21's stores in the UK could shut down after the retailer filed for bankruptcy protection.

Popular Fashion chain Forever 21 has announced it's filing for voluntary bankruptcy.

The shock move could see the US-owned brand, which has 815 stores in 57 countries, take almost half of its shops off the high street including their international outlets in Asia and Europe.

This will leave those working in shops across the UK - including London, Liverpool, and Birmingham - in danger of losing their jobs.

Bosses said under the changes, it expects to have between 450 and 500 stores left globally, also closing up to 178 US stores.

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It will continue operations in Mexico and Latin America.

A spokesman said in a statement: "Decisions as to which international locations will be closing are ongoing. We do not expect to exit any major markets in the US.

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"This does not mean that we are going out of business - on the contrary, filing for bankruptcy protection is a deliberate and decisive step to put us on a successful track for the future."

In a letter to customers, Forever 21 also said the process "does NOT mean that we are going out of business".

A Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection - also known as a 'reorganisation' bankruptcy - postpones a US company's obligations to its creditors, giving it time to reorganise its debts or sell parts of the business.

It comes after the company announced it would close all of its 14 outlets in Japan by the end of October earlier this month.

Stores will continue to open as normal while Forever 21 takes steps to reorganise the business.

Which Forever 21 stores are closing in the UK?

Forever 21 launched in the UK in 2010 but the retailer closed its Scottish flagship in Glasgow in April 2016 and its store in Westfield Stratford in May.

It also closed in Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, its store at Intu Trafford Centre and at Intu Lakeside in West Thurrock.

The future of the store in the UK is still unclear but there are currently still stores in Liverpool city centre, in the Bullring Birmingham and on London’s Oxford Street.

However, under the new plans these are all in danger of closing.