Sept. 30, 2019 By Allie Griffin
The fast fashion chain Forever21 filed for bankruptcy protection Sunday and announced it would close a number of stores in the U.S. and other countries.
The company announced that it will shut up to 178 stores in the U.S. and up to 350 overall, according to the New York Times, but the retailer has yet to announce which stores will close, including those in Queens.
The chain, which is known for bringing trendy clothing to teens and young women at rock bottom prices, has three locations in Queens — SkyView Center at 40-24 College Point Blvd in Flushing, Queens Center at 90-15 Queens Blvd in Elmhurst and The Shops at Atlas Park at 80-40 Cooper Ave in Glendale.
The company has about a little over 500 stores in the U.S. and 800 worldwide.
In a letter to customers, Forever21 said the decisions as to which domestic stores will close is ongoing, as the company’s leadership speaks to landlords.
“We do however expect a significant number of these stores will remain open and operate as usual, and we do not expect to exit any major markets in the U.S.,” the letter stated.
The Forever21’s ecommerce site will continue to sell products, but the company will cease operations in 40 countries including Canada and Japan as part of its Chapter 11 filing, according to the Times.
A Chapter 11 filing is less drastic than a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filing, which mandates that a company sell off its assets to pay creditors. Instead, the Chapter 11 protection filing allows Forever21 to reorganize its debts, while staying in business.
In court documents Forever21 said it has liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion owed to more than 100,000 creditors, NBC reported.
The brand helped make fast fashion popular in closets across the country and now its economic struggle may be a sign of troubling times for the industry of trendy cheap clothing. Fast fashion has faced criticism that its manufacturing process is hurting the environment and its workers.
Forever21’s bankruptcy filing comes amid a wave of chain stores which once populated malls have filed for bankruptcy over the last few years.