A bright, airy store, with great design detail, but it is trumped by rivals on product and prices.
Colour, prints and autumn 11 silhouettes such as the midi and maxi skirts stand out, as do saturated orange blouses, and an eclectic mix of leaf, floral, geometric, animal and paisley prints. Faux-fur gilets and lace tick the texture trend, while smock tops nod to the 1970s. But these are dwarfed by the basics offer, a mish-mash of varsity-style jackets and too many stripy tops.
The windows promise a lot, but inside the trend-led offer is tiny. The store itself is more impressive than rival Primark, but Forever 21 needs to build brand awareness – and a stronger product offer – to draw in UK consumers. Queues may have formed on opening day (thanks to freebies), but a week later and it’s Primark that is heaving with shoppers. When Drapers failed to find the midi skirt displayed in the window, a sales assistant said it had sold out, and didn’t think it would be replenished.
Prices are more in line with New Look than Primark, with blouses at £16.75 to Primark’s £10 to £15. A faux-fur gilet at £32.75 is expensive, given you can get one for £12 at Primark. But a pair of cool, royal blue skinny jeans looks great at £18.75, as do coloured blazers for £22.75.
If Forever 21 still had the skirt in the window, it would have been a bargain at £10. Printed blouses are pitched just right at £24.75. Vests start from just £3. All in all, Forever 21 loses out to Primark’s prices and New Look’s better designs.