Forever 21 files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Fashion retailer Forever 21 has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US.

The company said it plans to “exit most international locations in Asia and Europe” but would continue to operate in Mexico and Latin America.

It expects to close up to 350 stores worldwide, a spokesperson said, including as many as 178 US stores.

Forever 21 sells inexpensive, trendy clothes and accessories, and competes against brands such as Zara and H&M.

But some analysts say the retailer, founded in 1984, has lost its way over the past five years, and fallen out of favour with young US shoppers looking for relatively cheap clothing.

The company has also, like many traditional retailers, struggled against rising competition from online rivals.

Chapter 11 protection postpones a US company’s obligations to its creditors, giving it time to reorganise its debts or sell parts of the business.

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.

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