Fast fashion brand Forever 21 is opening its first physical store in China this month in a partnership with Lasonic, as it tries to woo consumers in the country for the third time, WWD has learned.
The store, which is under construction according to local navigation provider Gaode, is located in a shopping mall in Taizhou, Jiangsu province. A three-hour drive from Shanghai, Taizhou is ranked as a third-tier city in China, meaning it has a robust local population with decent purchasing power lower than provincial capitals, which are considered second-tier cities.
Forever 21 was founded by Do Won Chang and his wife Jin Sook in 1994 and grew rapidly by offering fashionable clothes at low prices, but ultimately the company was unable to navigate its expansion. aggressive international. It filed for bankruptcy and was purchased by SPARC, the venture between Authentic Brands Group, Simon Property Group and Brookfield, through that process for $81.1 million. It now operates 540 stores worldwide.
After the acquisition, ABG signed a licensing agreement with Lasonic Electric Xusheng Co. Ltd. and its subsidiary, Xusheng Electrical (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd., to manage Forever 21’s operations in the Chinese market. Lasonic then revealed plans to re-enter major e-commerce platforms and open physical stores in major cities across China.
Lasonic Limited is a Hong Kong-based manufacturer of electrical, electronic and lighting products. It is also engaged in intellectual property licensing, event planning and merchandising businesses.
The Forever 21 brand is now available on online marketplaces like Tmall, VIPshop and Pinduoduo as promised by Lasonic. The top-selling item on Tmall so far is a pair of straight jeans, of which six have been sold.
Taizhou, however, is not a big city. In fact, the city is not far from Changshu, where Forever 21 opened its first store in China in 2008. At the time, the brand overestimated its popularity in China and exited the market within a year.
The brand tried a second time in 2011 with major flagships on the most expensive shopping streets in major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, but had to exit the market in April 2019 due to fierce competition from global and local players. and missteps with its own expansion. and digital strategies.
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