Forever 21 franchisee to carry on in India
The India operation of Forever 21, the US-based fast fashion chain that filed for bankruptcy, will continue as the local franchisee of the brand plans to operate the stores here.
Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail (ABFRL), the franchisee of the Forever 21 chain in India, said it does not plan to shut any of its retail outlets, including the one at South City Mall in the city.
“Forever 21’s India business is run as a franchisee operation by Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail Ltd. The business operations of the brand will not be impacted in any way by its restructuring underway in the US,” a spokesperson for ABFRL said.
Forever 21, a trendy and affordable fashion brand, competes with international fashion labels such as H&M and Zara globally and in India. There are about 10 Forever 21 stores across India.
Sources said the brand does not contribute significantly to the overall portfolio of ABFRL, which has brands such as Louis Philippe, Van Heusen and Allen Solly under franchisee agreement.
Usually in such arrangements, the franchisee takes the responsibility of promoting the brand, operating the stores, sourcing the material and selling it. The franchisee pays a fee for using the brand and also gets some of the designs for local production.
Man Mohan Bagree, vice-president, South City Projects, said Forever 21 would continue to grow. “Aditya Birla Fashion has strongly invested in the brand in India and is expanding to our knowledge, no shutdown,” he said.
Patrons of the brand were relieved that the store at South City would remain in business.
“Calcutta got a taste of Forever 21 many years after other metropolitan cities. So I don’t think people are ready to part with it. Personally I wear luxury as well as pocket-friendly brands and Forever 21 is a fine economical brand with good fashion trends and quality. It is my go-to brand for accessories. I am happy that the store in Calcutta will not shut down and am sure many other shoppers on the lookout for a budget-friendly good brand will be happy, too,” model Sneha Ghosh said.
Interior designer Karishma Mehta would shop at Forever 21 in Mumbai and Pune before the brand came to Calcutta. “I am extremely relieved to know that the stores are not going to shut because it has such awesome stylish crop tops and all kinds of accessories with such fine finish! The reasonable pricing is another point, making it one of my favourite brands to shop from,” she said.
Forever 21, the California retailer, has 815 stores in 57 countries. While filing for bankruptcy on Sunday in the US, the company said the restructuring will allow it to focus on the profitable core part of its operations and shut stores at some international locations.
It has requested approval to close up to 178 US stores, with decisions as to which outlets it will close still pending.