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Changes in societal shopping habits threaten Forever 21

Updated: Oct 2, 2019

Fast-fashion retailer Forever 21 is planning to close 100 stores as part of its plan to file for bankruptcy, according to an article on Sept. 12 in the “New York Times”.

Forever 21 is in many major malls throughout the country and offers high-fashion knockoffs. The company offers clothing for women, men, and young girls, plus accessories, home decor and makeup through its exclusive brand Riley Rose, which has 15 stores across the U.S.

In recent years, Forever 21 has lost foot traffic in its stores as more shoppers are turning to online purchases or to other online retailers, such as Asos and Fashion Nova. Amazon is also dipping its foot into the fast-fashion waters with exclusive brands that can be delivered to Amazon Prime members within two days. UNIQLO, the Korean-based retailer has just recently made its way to the U.S., offering high-end materials and designs at affordable prices.

Another factor is that Forever 21’s stores are seen as messy, disorganized and hard to navigate. This could and will confuse customers when they are shopping.

Rochester University junior Evan Thurwachter said, “When you go into Forever 21 to find something, you usually can’t find it because it’s so disorganized. That kind of business model is not going to work.”

Also, shoppers are turning away from the uber cheap prices and materials at places like Forever 21 for better quality fabrics. Generation Z, those born between 1995-2015, are defined as the next activist era, living in a post 9/11 generation defined by technology, mass shootings and climate change.

Generation Z is the target market of Forever 21, which could be an effect on the lower foot traffic in recent fiscal years. Generation Z could be buying most of their clothing online, and focusing on more eco-friendly products that Forever 21 does not sell.

Retailers including Forever 21 are pressured into pumping out styles quickly to reduce cost and timing. The effects fast-fashion can have on the environment are irreversible, including water pollution, using toxic materials and increasing waste.

Forever 21 competitor H&M has a line titled “Conscious Collection,” where all the items in the collection are made from eco-friendly materials.

The retailer is also facing allegations of copying pop singer Ariana Grande’s persona from her “7 Rings” music video. According to the “New York Times” article,

Grande is suing the company for $10 million for using a lookalike of her without her permission on its website and social media. Grande had reached out to the company to remove the promotional posts, but the retailer did not remove any postings until mid-April, two months after Grande’s legal team alerted Forever 21.

This leaves Forever 21 in a difficult situation unless it can change the way its stores

are set up, its marketing and promotions, and the production of its clothing.

If these changes aren’t made, Forever 21 could be gone forever.



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