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Forever 21 to downsize two UK stores and expand in Europe

Forever 21 is set to boost its presence in Europe and is understood to be considering downsizing two of its UK stores.

The US young fashion chain, which entered the UK market in November 2010 with a store at Birmingham Bullring, is considering reducing the size of its stores in the Bluewater and Lakeside shopping centres. Meanwhile, it has signed for a 16,600 sq ft store on main shopping street Westenhellweg in Dortmund, Germany, which is set to open early next year.

Forever 21 is also in talks to open its first store in Rotterdam in the Netherlands and its first shop in Madrid, Spain, Drapers understands.

The fast fashion chain is also looking to open additional stores in Paris and Barcelona, where it has one and three stores respectively. It is looking for store formats of between 15,000 to 25,000 sq ft, all of which are set to open over the next two years.

The hunt for more retail locations across Europe will build on the chain’s existing portfolio of 25 stores across Europe, all of which opened over the past three years. Locations include Vienna, Antwerp and Munich. In the UK, Forever 21 has eight stores in locations such as London, Glasgow and Manchester.

It is thought Forever 21 has no plans for further stores here. James Ebel, a partner at Forever

21’s property agent Harper Dennis Hobbs, would not comment on the UK stores, but said: “Given the success of recent openings in Europe and the fact that trade is up on the continent, we have been instructed to find further sites.”

According to accounts filed with Companies House last month, Forever 21 narrowed its pre-tax losses in the UK to £18.4m in the year to February 28, from £66.5m the year before. Sales shot up from £37.1m to £48.3m.

A statement on the accounts said: “The losses from the early years of trading are a direct result of investments undertaken to establish the business and create brand awareness through marketing activities as a new entrant into the UK market.”

Forever 21 has more than 480 stores across the US, Canada, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Europe. The chain was unavailable for comment.




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