While Macy’s Inc., Sears Holdings Corp., Kmart and J.C. Penney Co. Inc. are closing stores, Forever 21 is moving in the other direction. The Los Angeles-based retailer said Monday it will open more than 40 F21 Red units this year, bringing the number of F21 Red stores to more than 70.
Linda Chang, vice president of merchandising at Forever 21, said F21 Red has the potential to grow as large as the flagship chain, which operates more than 500 units.
The first three F21 Red stores under the initiative will bow in the Bronx, N.Y.; San Antonio, Tex., and Chicago.
F21 Red was introduced in 2014 with the goal of creating a convenient shopping experience for families. Its assortment includes fashion staples from Forever 21 and its subbrands, 21Men; Forever 21-plus, extended sizes; Forever 21 Girls; Love & Beauty, cosmetics, and Forever 21’s lingerie and shoes collections.
“We’re excited to announce that we’ll be growing F21 Red’s presence in 2017,” said Chang. “F21 Red expansion represents an important and exciting opportunity for our growth plan, and will allow us to bring a wide variety of products at competitive prices to new regional areas for our [growing] customer base.
“Over the last three years we’ve expanded the offering to include more styles so parents and kids can find head-to-toe looks and stock up on every day fashion essentials.”
Chang said the F21 Red customer takes trends into consideration, but is value-driven and “seeks to shop a wide array of fashion staples in one location. Rather than only up-to-the-minute trends, they’re looking for items for themselves and the family that will see them through the season. From the outset, we sought to create a store that would answer that demand and expand our reach in regional areas where Forever 21 stores aren’t located.”
F21 Red units are mainly located in strip centers, but the company is evaluating other options.
While Forever 21 sells items priced from $7.90 to $25, it offers higher-priced pieces such as a Lush tattersall dress for $45; plunging floral maxidress, $58; Lillibet’s sequined illusion gown, $78, and belted camo T-shirt dress, $27.90. However, F21 Red’s prices veer to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. territory, with $1.90 camisoles; tank tops, $5.90; T-shirts, $3.90, and denim, $7.90.
F21 Red is competing with Primark and Old Navy with stores that range in size from 10,000 square feet to 18,000 square feet. The retailer may also be capitalizing on the difficulties of teen brand, from Pacific Sunwear to Wet Seal Inc.
Founded in 1984 by Korean immigrants, Forever 21 has expanded its portfolio to include XXI Forever, Heritage 1981 and Reference in addition to the flagship nameplate.
In Asia, stores are located in China, Japan, Korea and the Philippines. So far, F21 Red has launched in one foreign market, Canada.