Fast-fashion retailer Forever 21 will not be around forever in Canada, with all 44 stores in this country set to close by the end of the year.
The American-based chain has filed for bankruptcy protection, announcing Sunday that it would be closing many of its international stores, with plans to liquidate its inventory in the short-term.
"Forever 21 has made the difficult decision to discontinue further financial and operational support for Forever 21 Canada as we reposition the brand and global business to adapt to the current retail environment," the company said in a statement.
“Honestly I kind of get it,” one Toronto shopper told CTV News Toronto Monday. “I feel like their clothes have gone way downhill.”
“It’s not cool anymore,” another said.
But retail experts say the formula for success in the ever-changing retail industry is complex and no one factor may be to blame.
“Many things are moving all at the same time means there's not a lot of room for error,” Michael Leblanc, senior retail advisor with the Retail Council of Canada, said. “So the decisions you make and the strategies you have are very important.”
Perhaps the most significant change throwing traditional retailers into crisis is the so-called Amazon factor –the ability to buy online, which can shift the success of bricks-and-mortar shops.
“When you can go online and you can get things at a far more effective cost, even if it’s something on a short-term basis, I think today’s consumer is likely going to take that route,” CTV’s Chief Financial Analyst Pattie Lovett-Reid said.
“Convenience is king.”
Lovett-Reid also points to a decline in the fast-fashion trend, in which consumers are more likely to pay less for apparel that doesn’t last as long.
“[At one point] it was very cool to have the latest fashion trends at a deep discount, and you didn’t want to keep everything forever,” she said.
“Now there’s a lot more respect for having quality, maybe fewer things, less of a footprint, it’s a very different dynamic.”
Many shoppers told CTV News Toronto they subscribe to eco-friendly shopping.
“I’m one of those people who tries to look for clothes that last longer,” one shopper said.
“People want to reuse things more than just buy single-use clothing,” said another.
Forever 21 will close up to 178 of its U.S. locations and focus on maximizing the value of the remaining stores. It had 500 American locations prior to the downsizing.