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Landlords team with Authentic Brands Group to rescue Forever 21

Control of collapsed Californian fast-fashion chain Forever 21 is about to be handed over to a consortium of creditors led by property companies.

According to recently filed court documents, Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners along with Authentic Brands Group have agreed to pay US$81 million for Forever 21’s assets, which include its beauty store brand Riley Rose and its online store.

That’s a stark contrast to Forever 21’s global sales at their peak in 2015 at $4.4 billion and $3.4 billion in 2017.

Forever 21 is said to owe millions in unpaid rent to Simon and Brookfield and the deal will likely allow the mall operators to keep the stores trading as tenants.

Authentic Brands Group, which describes itself as “brand owners, curators and guardians”, has 50 labels in its portfolio, including Nine West, Aeropostale and Juicy Couture, all rescued from near collapse. Nautica, Muhammid Ali, Spyder, Jones New York, Frye and Barneys New York are also under its management.

Forever 21 was founded in 1984 by Korean immigrants Do Won Chang and his wife Jin Sook Chang. It filed for bankruptcy in September last year and has since closed about 100 stores.

However in January the company announced a new partnership with e-commerce specialist Global-e to launch a new international online store supporting nearly 100 currencies and more than 150 local and alternative payment methods, along with localised tax collection and duties calculations. The site will feature 21 languages and signals a shift away from physical stores to a strong online presence to protect the brand in the future.

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