Forever 21 plans more stores on the mainland
Forever 21, a US fashion retailer on its way to becoming a global brand, says the global economic slowdown will not hamper its expansion in China, where it plans to open more shops.
The brand opened its first mainland shop in Beijing apm, a shopping mall managed by Sun Hung Kai Properties in the Wangfujing shopping area, on Wednesday.
Thousands of people, many from neighbouring cities including Tianjin, packed the store to snap up clothes, shoes and accessories in the four-storey, 25,000 square foot shop.
Larry Meyer, executive vice-president of Forever 21, said the company would open another big store in Shanghai in a couple of months, and was also looking for other locations around the country. 'We've been in the fashion industry for 28 years, and economic cycles have been part of our life. We will not downsize our expansion plans due to the economic slowdown,' he said. 'Our focus ... is to find great locations for new shops.'
Forever 21, best known for its fast-changing styles and low prices, is one of the top five fashion retailers in the United States by revenue. Last year, it posted revenue of US$2.22 billion, selling most of its products at below US$60.
The firm operates in places including South Korea, Japan, Austria, Belgium, Spain and Britain. Most of its stores cover more than 10,000 square feet and are found in core shopping areas of a city. In January, the brand opened its first store in Hong Kong, in Causeway Bay.
Jimmy Wong, executive director of Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency, said the retail market in mainland China was still strong compared to other countries. 'Many foreign retailers we have been in talks with show a strong intention to open shops in Asia, a place where they know they can make money,' he said.
The Beijing apm, with a floor area of 1 million sq ft, draws about 100,000 shoppers a day. Wong expects the daily customer traffic to double by the end of the year. Turnover at the mall was expected to grow 80 per cent to 2.7 billion yuan (HK$3.31 billion) from a year earlier, he said.
The minimum floor area, in square feet, that most Forever 21 stores around the world take up. The Beijing shop is spread over 25,000 sq ft