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Forever 21 Tries To Enter China Market For Third Time

The fashion brand Forever 21 is rebooting its efforts to establish a presence in China, according to a story broken by Women’s Wear Daily.

This is the third time Forever 21 has tried to enter the Chinese retail market. The first time was in 2008, but the attempt was short-lived and unsuccessful. The company tried again in 2011 but pulled out in 2019 after disappointing revenue and profits.

“Forever 21 is constantly evaluating our global portfolio of stores and made the decision to close our operations in the China market after careful consideration of shifts in consumer demands and the long-term profitability of these operations,” the company stated at the time.

However, Forever 21 is hoping the third time’s the charm, and this time the company is employing a licensing strategy with an experienced partner to enter what is considered a lucrative but difficult retail market.

Forever 21 has inked a deal with Lasonic Limited Xusheng Co. Ltd. and its subsidiary Xusheng Electrical (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd. to manage the retailer’s operation in China, according to a statement on the company’s WeChat account.

Lasonic is a producer of electrical, electronics and lighting products, but it also does business in intellectual property licensing. Among other IP lines, Lasonic manages the licensing business in China for major brands like Hello Kitty, emoji, Spongebob and Pepsi.

The Forever 21 team also says it will be using Chinese e-commerce platforms and will open a flagship outlet on Alibaba’s Small platform, China’s answer to Amazon. As the launch rolls out, Forever 21 also plans to open several brick and mortar stores in major Chinese cities.

The move is seen as part of a plan to bring Forever 21 back to profitability, after it was purchased out of bankruptcy in February 2020 by a group of investors, including Simon Property Group, Authentic Brands Group and Brookfield Property Partners. ABG is the active partner, and is handling the company’s international business strategy.