Have you heard the gossip? US superstore Forever 21 is already seeking to downsize its debut store located in Birmingham’s prestigious Bullring shopping centre. It has been there 18 months, and while more recent times have seen the chain jump at every opportunity to bombard us with their fuchsia pink plastic bags and provide every 14-year-old with short shorts and pleather jackets, by opening up three story developments at Westfields and on Oxford Street, it seems maybe Forever 21 didn’t foresee its own downfall. With plans to sub-let part of its store in Birmingham, could this be an omen for the shiny new stores down South?
Personally, having been to both London stores on various occasions I have struggled to find anything apart from the odd piece of costume jewellery to seduce my purse strings. All 3-floored filler, no killer you might say. And I always leave feeling rather disappointed. With prices points so cheap as to rival Primark, it does make me a tad melancholy that a store so shiny and inviting has barely any decent products on offer. That said, having visited Forever 21 in America, I came away with some of my best-loved items (a leopard print cover-up, some killer pendants, and some amazing tees) that are still regularly worn nearly a year on.
So why can’t the UK stores deliver? Or is it just me? While Forever 21 might be on the verge of clawing back square feet in order to save face, it seems its biggest rival, and the store which was most scared of Forever 21’s aggressive push on the UK high Street, is going from strength to strength. H&M’s designer collaborations are stronger than ever (Versace, Marni etc) and they have now announced 2013 will see the opening of their new, slightly more up-market, stores, to be called ‘& Other Stories’ (rubbish name). The other brands owned by H&M, e.g. Monki and Cheap Monday, also have their first bricks and mortar stores which opened last month in Carnaby street, and are by all accounts doing extremely well. So, I guess what they say is right, hey Forever 21? Nothing like a bit of healthy competition, eh?
So dear readers, please do enlighten me if you do in fact enjoy shopping in the uK Forever 21 stores, and your best finds as well would also be appreciated!