Forever 21 files for Bankruptcy Protection: Is Body Shaming the Reason?
The all-time favourite retail brand of fashionista’s, Forever 21 has fallen deep into a retail catastrophe. Experiencing changing consumer tastes and rapid expansion over the years has led the retailer to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday.
Reducing mall traffic and over the top lease costs could be another reason for the same. As per reports, the privately owned retail firm has requested court protection from its creditors in order to stay in business. Plans are that “most” of the stores located in Asia and Europe would be closed and nearly 178 stores of the US would be shut too.
In a recent statement released by the Executive Vice President of Forever 21, Linda Chang, it was said, “This was an important and necessary step to secure the future of our Company, which will enable us to reorganize our business and reposition Forever 21.”
Chang further highlighted that in less than six-years, the firm has faced many complexities due to its fast expansion from seven countries to 47 countries.
The recent news of bankruptcy will have a huge impact on the mall owners as a lot of space could remain vacant due to the shutdown of Forever 21 stores.
Other retailers who have announced liquidity in recent times include Payless ShoeSource, Charlotte Russe, Gymboree and Charming Charlie.
The increasing fervour for online shopping in youth these days has increased competition in the retail industry. Speaking of the changing trends, Chang said, “The retail industry is obviously changing — there has been a softening of mall traffic and sales are shifting more to online.”
Earlier in July, attempts to improve online sales of new products backfired on the retail chain when few customers blamed the fashion brand for “body-shaming” its online customers.
Customers who bought garments from the online store of Forever 21 criticized the fashion giant for sending diet bars of Atkins along with their ordered garments. Some even took to Twitter to show their outrage.
A New York based student who bought clothes from the Plus-size section of the store tweeted, “I have received my order of 5 items from the plus section …. oh and this Atkins bar that slipped in there. I don’t take kindly to people telling me how to live my life. Oh, and when you were packing the diet bar, you forgot to put my actual invoice!!!”
The sluggish sales of Forever 21 and shifting preferences of its customers could majorly be due to such actions of the retailer.
Although Forever 21 freed itself from all accusations claiming that the freebie items were included in all online orders irrespective of the size of the customer, the question still remains whether the sale of diet bars promoted body shaming on a larger scale!
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