Once, Forever 21 had one of the largest flagship stores in Hong Kong. Now it has exited the market altogether.
The California-headquartered fast-fashion retailer has closed its three-story Mong Kok store, eight years after it opened a massive six-story flagship in the heart of Causeway Bay, which is now home to Victoria’s Secret.
In April, Forever 21 closed its Chinese e-commerce website and withdrew products for sale on Tmall and JD. At the same time it closed one physical store on the mainland and was widely reported to be planning to exit the market altogether.
Last month, it was reported by Bloomberg to be preparing to file for bankruptcy protection after failing to reach a deal to refinance its heavy debt load but as recently as 10 days ago its owners discounted that course, saying the business would trade on.
With more than 800 stores in the Americas, Asia and Europe Forever 21 grew from a single store in Los Angeles in 1984 opened by co-founder Do Won Chang and his wife Jin Sook. While its international growth trajectory was rapid in the 2000s, in later years it has failed to keep pace with European rivals H&M and Zara and Japan’s Uniqlo, leading it to shutter flagship stores like the one in Causeway Bay.