Even though Forever 21 renewed its lease for another three years at the corner of State and Canon Perdido streets earlier this year, a corporate shake-up leading to a bankruptcy filing is in the wind.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the low-cost clothing and accessory chain may file for bankruptcy as early as Sept. 15. The New York Times picked up the report as well, attributing the information to three unnamed sources.
Reports indicate Forever 21 may close some 100 of its 800 worldwide stores. Most are in the United States.
Santa Barbara Forever 21 Manager Scott Buerrs confirmed that the store has a three-year lease signed earlier this year after an erroneously posted story came about the corner shop being ready to go under.
However, an “outside representative” for the company said the Times most recent report was bogus for the most part. The Times said, ” The timing of a filing could change, and it’s possible, though unlikely, that the company could be rescued at the last minute.
Forever 21 stores, whose company is privately held, can be found in hundreds of malls across the nation, including in Ventura’s Pacific View Mall where one of the shops opened recently. Clothes at the popular chain usually range from $5 to $15. The stores advertise frequent sales and half-off and buy-one-get-one specials.
The Santa Barbara store employs up to 50 workers.
The store manager referred all questions to be sent by email to corporate headquarters in Los Angeles, but no response to questions was returned late Sept. 13, Friday the 13th.
Current estimates show the local store has annual revenue of up to $5 million, according to Manta.com
If Forever 21 on State Street closes, that would mean another huge space left open in the county’s most visible commercial corridor. That includes the former Macy’s, and Staples stores as well as a space once occupied by the law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, which moved to Santa Barbara Street.
Posted Sept. 13, 2019.