Forever 21 is opening 14 new stores in the U.S. through June 2023, many of them in outlet centers.
The first opened at the Gran Plaza Outlets in Calexico, California, in August, according to a company press release.
The other thirteen will open in malls in Aurora, Illinois; Warwick, Rhode Island; Las Vegas; Altoona, Iowa; Grove City and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Norfolk and Leesburg, Virginia; Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Woodstock, Georgia; Mayaguez, Puerto Rico; Florida City, Florida; and Tejon Ranch, California.
Forever 21 has long depended on brick and mortar for its sales. CEO Winnie Park, who arrived in January, said in a statement that, while the company’s “online business remains strong and a key component of our growth strategy,” the company is seeing more consumers return to stores.
In addition to the general drift back to physical locations, the chain is benefiting from renewed interest in apparel shopping as events and in-person office work have resumed, according to Jacob Hawkins, Forever 21 chief marketing, digital and omni officer.
“We’re also seeing even more customers choosing the buy online, pick up in store option, and these 14 new stores reflect our commitment to ensuring we have the local inventory to meet demand for this increasingly popular omni shopping model,” Hawkins said in a statement.
The brand, which was rescued by two of its landlords out of bankruptcy over two years ago, remains a Gen Z favorite, according to research from AI firm Helixa. But fast fashion is also facing challenges, including competition from resale (also favored by Gen Z) and even faster brands like Shein, as well as criticism surrounding sustainability issues.
In coming months, each new Forever 21 location will feature grand opening events, photo op setups and special promotions like gift card giveaways, gifts with purchase, and food and beverages, per the release.