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Forever 21 UK stores launch stock clearance sale as the British business winds down

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Forever 21’s three UK stores have launched a stock clearance sale after the British arm of the fast fashion business went into administration. 

The stores, in Liverpool, London and Birmingham, will sell stock worth £30m in coming weeks as the UK operations wind down. Stock is set to be replenished, and new lines added, throughout the winding down period.

The move comes after the fast fashion retailer, which was listed as a Top50 retailer in IRUK Top500 2019 research, went into administration in the wake of the decision by the US retailer to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a legal mechanism which protects the retailer against its creditors.

Damian Webb and Allan Kelly of RSM Restructuring Advisory were appointed as joint administrators of the UK business at the end of September.

Webb, a retail restructuring partner at RSM UK, said: “Despite the parent company’s financial difficulties across its worldwide estate, the Former 21 brand has remained very popular with shoppers and we are anticipating huge interest in this closing down sale. Visitors to Forever 21’s UK stores in London, Liverpool and Birmingham can expect to see some very attractive prices from the outset.”

Forever 21 – then trading as Fashion 21 – opened its first store in Los Angeles in 1984 and by 2018 it had more than 9— shops in 57 markets around the world. Its first UK shop opened in 2010 and at its peak it had eight stores in the UK. However, its store estate has since reduced significantly in the highly competitive UK market, with three closing in 2016 alone.

The winding-down sale now underway in stores will mean the retailer has no bricks-and-mortar presence in the UK but customers are likely to be able to continue to buy online from the US business. In a letter to US customers, the retailer said it planned to operate as usual while reorganising the business in order to return to profitability. 

But reports suggest that the retailer’s store numbers around the world will reduce from more than 800 to between 450 and 500 as the retailer moves out of the Asian and European markets. 

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