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Forever 21 looks to crack Europe

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 02:10

July 27 - U.S. fashion chain Forever 21 has opened its first London store, and plans to break into Europe in the next few years, but it comes as consumer spending in the UK is worrying low. Joanna Partridge reports

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Queuing up for cheap fashion. U.S. retailer Forever 21 has brought its first store to London and hopes to become a hit on this side of the Atlantic. Founder Don Chang opened the shop on Oxford Street, one of the British capital's best-known retail locations. Keeping it in the family, his daughter Linda is now the firm's Senior Marketing Manager. SOUNDBITE: Linda Chang, Senior Marketing Manager, Forever 21, saying (English): "Great fashions, great trends at incredible prices. I think the shopping environment is something that really exciting as well, you know, the energy, the music, the bright lights." The London opening will be followed closely by one in Brussels. Forever 21 has been in the U.S. for 27 years. They have over 450 stores there and promise many new products on the racks each week. But they are now focussing on Europe says Executive Vice President Larry Meyer, with a dozen new openings each year. SOUNDBITE: Larry Meyer, Executive Vice President, Forever 21, saying (English): "Our hope is that it will be a third of our business, certainly within the next couple of years." Forever 21 is the latest foreign retailer to enter a crowded and competitive retail market in the UK. Their London opening comes as shoppers' salaries are being squeezed by government spending cuts and inflation and some well-known brands like Jane Norman and Habitat have gone into administration. Some British retailers were also forced to bring their summer discounts forwards to maintain sales. Retail analyst Greg Hodge says Forever 21 might find it hard to replicate the success of other U.S. retailers like Abercrombie and Fitch. SOUNDBITE: Greg Hodge, Director of Global Retail at Iconoculture, saying (English): "They're going to really have trouble to differentiate themselves against someone like Primark, compete against H&M, compete against Zara, and then we've seen someone like New Look, Forever 21 was always associated with being quite similar to New Look and New Look's had a lot of trouble in the UK recently so I think it could be tough for hem." Foreign retailers are increasingly using the internet and social media to build their brand in overseas markets. But as shoppers continue to watch what they spend, brands may find it hard to crack the UK market. Joanna Partridge, Reuters

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Forever 21 looks to crack Europe

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 02:10