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With a new brick-and-mortar store, Forever 21 makes a third attempt at China

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English -  Forever 21 , an American fast fashion company, is making its third foray into China, with plans to build...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English - Forever 21, an American fast fashion company, is making its third foray into China, with plans to build a real store there later this month.

The brand said on WeChat that it would establish a store in Taizhou's Jingjiang Impression City shopping centre "in June." Taizhou is a third-tier city in Jiangsu's eastern region, which borders Shanghai.

A Forever 21 store is under development at the shopping centre, according to Chinese online mapping apps.

A request for more information regarding the opening from Reuters was not immediately returned by Forever 21.

Last August, the youth-oriented fast fashion company stealthily re-entered the Chinese market, initially selling exclusively online through platforms like Vipshop and Pinduoduo before opening a store on Alibaba's Tmall marketplace.

Forever 21 has recently increased its social media presence, launching an online campaign to promote its wares during China's major mid-year e-commerce sales event, the "618" festival.

In 2008, the brand initially entered the Chinese market, only to leave a year later.

In 2011, it began its second run in China's burgeoning fashion industry. Forever 21 had an 11-store network in China, including flagship locations in Shanghai and Beijing, that lasted until 2019, when it exited various markets, including China, and filed for bankruptcy.

Authentic Brands Group (ABG) bought Forever 21 in 2020. To oversee Forever 21's China activities, ABG entered a licencing arrangement with Hong Kong's Lasonic Electric Xusheng Co. Ltd. and its subsidiary, Xusheng Electrical (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd.

This is the company's third attempt at the Chinese market, which has risen to become one of the world's largest fashion markets.

For mass market foreign fashion brands in China, however, gaining and maintaining market share remains a difficult undertaking. Others, such as big sportswear firms Nike and Adidas, have lost ground to local labels Li Ning and Anta in recent years, while others, such as H&M, have been beset by scandal.

"It's evident that within the quick fashion industry, there has been a movement towards nimble domestic fashion firms," said China Market Research Group managing director Ben Cavender. "If anything, foreign fast fashion is now harder to compete here than in the past."

"It will be tough to reclaim market share because the majority of Chinese customers have either never heard of the brand or have no idea what it stands for."

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