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American Eagle and Forever 21 to make a return to Japan

(Source: Reuters/Carlo Allegri)

Two US fashion brands – American Eagle and Forever 21 – are making a re-entry into Japan after withdrawing from the country in 2019. 

American Eagle said it will open two flagship stores in Shibuya and Ikebukuro next month, almost three years after it closed all physical stores in the market. The brick-and-mortar store opening is expected to help American Eagle further strengthen its presence in the country through omnichannel experience.

Marking the relaunch, the fashion brand has collaborated with local artists, including Reo Sano, Ren Ishikawa, Sae Murase, and Rintaro Asari, to introduce its new denim campaign dubbed ‘A Fit for Every Story’.

Meanwhile, Itochu Corp, which holds master license rights of Forever 21, said it will start the brand’s e-commerce sales in Japan in February before rolling out physical stores in the country. Forever 21 opened its first store in Japan in 2009 and exited the market a decade later.

“Since Authentic Brands Group acquired [Forever 21] in 2020, we have expanded our business in major countries around the world,” Itochu Corp said in a statement. 

The company also expects to reach US$70 million in sales in five years.

“Currently, we have more than 570 stores around the world, and we have renewed our brand image by developing promotions that match the trends of the times, such as renewing storefront expressions and actively approaching sustainability and social contribution.”

Itochu and Authentic Brands Group have also recently announced plans to expand the US outdoor brand Eddie Bauer in Japan, which will see the opening of the brand’s new freestanding stores, expand shop-in-shop locations and specialty accounts, and relaunch the brand’s e-commerce early next year. 

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