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Forever 21 Fails to Crack UK, Will Shrink Retail Footprint

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Forever21

Forever 21’s quest for domination across the pond hasn’t gone according to plan.

The American fast-fashion chain, which opened its first UK location in Birmingham in 2010, is seeking to downsize its store fleet and has appointed property agency Harper Dennis Hobbs to review its portfolio, the Telegraph reported Saturday.

In addition to the Birmingham store—which was scaled back after a less-than-stellar debut—Forever 21 has locations in London, Liverpool and Kent. An outpost at the Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex is set to shutter soon.

When the chain first entered the UK, the company’s then executive vice president Larry Meyer (now chief executive at Uniqlo USA) said he wanted 100 stores in “every major city, ever mall and every major high street” within five years. Instead, Forever 21 managed to rack up tens of millions of pounds in pre-tax losses.

According to the Telegraph, H&M is expected to take over the Lakeside location when it shuts, as well as stores in Glasgow and East London that have already closed.

Forever 21 is also having a tough time on its home turf. Media reports last month revealed that owners Don and Jin Sook Chang were paying vendors about 30 days late, while two cavernous stores in California and one in Florida closed earlier this year. Last August, the retailer was reportedly in talks with Wells Fargo and TPG Capital about a $150 million loan.

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