Forever 21 files for bankruptcy

Forever 21 files for bankruptcy

FILE PHOTO: Popular apparel retailer Forever 21 is filing for bankruptcy, a victim of the shift to online sales by consumers. 

Popular apparel retailer Forever 21 is filing for bankruptcy, another victim of the shift to online sales by consumers.

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The retailer will close 178 stores in the United States and 350 overall, ending operations in 40 countries including Canada and Japan as part of its Chapter 11 filing, The New York Times reported.

It will continue to operate its website and hundreds of stores in the United States.

"What we're hoping to do with this process is just to simplify things so we can get back to doing what we do best," said Linda Chang, the company's vice president, The Times reported.

The private, family-held company was founded in the 1980s by Do Won and Jin Sook Chang, after they immigrated to California from South Korea.

The stores gained popularity in the early 2000s for its haute fashion styles and budget prices.

The company saw its revenues decrease from $4.4 billion in 2016 to $3.3 billion in 2018. The restructuring is expected to see sales around $2.5 billion, The Times reported.

The company is a victim of its own overexpansion as well as shifting consumer trends from brick-and-mortar stores to online retailers.

"We went from seven countries to 47 countries within a less-than-six-year time frame and with that came a lot of complexity," Chang told The Times. "The retail industry is obviously changing — there has been a softening of mall traffic and sales are shifting more to online."