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Forever 21’s new owners tap H&M executive to lead turnaround

The new owners of failed US fast-fashion firm Forever 21 have appointed a key H&M executive to take charge of a turnaround plan. 

Two of the chain’s landlords, Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners, teamed with Authentic Brands Group to purchase the business for a bargain-basement price of just US$81.1 million. However, the consortium has also assumed some $300 million in liabilities as part of the deal.

Former H&M US president Daniel Kulle has been appointed the firm’s new CEO. He will work with the new owners to maintain the majority of the 450-odd stores across the US. Some overseas stores will be licensed to local operators. The owners will seek to expand the brand throughout China, Southeast Asia and in other key markets, having already launched an online-first strategy.

Under Kulle’s leadership, the brand will focus on current design trends, speed to market, sustainability and a younger target audience.

“Forever 21 is a powerful retail brand with incredible consumer reach and a wealth of untapped potential,” said ABG founder, chairman, and CEO Jamie Salter. “We’re looking forward to working with the Forever 21 team and our global partners. Together, we’ll revitalise the brand’s core business and connect with audiences around the world through new product offerings and experiences.”

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