Forever 21 weighs bankruptcy filing

Forever 21 operates more than 800 stores in the United States (above), Europe, Asia and Latin America. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG While there used to be as many as four Forever 21 outlets in Singapore, all but one - at 313@Somerset (above) - have closed. The c
While there used to be as many as four Forever 21 outlets in Singapore, all but one - at 313@Somerset (above) - have closed. The company has been in talks for additional financing and is working with advisers to restructure its debt, but negotiations with possible lenders have stalled, sources say.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Forever 21 operates more than 800 stores in the United States (above), Europe, Asia and Latin America. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG While there used to be as many as four Forever 21 outlets in Singapore, all but one - at 313@Somerset (above) - have closed. The c
Forever 21 operates more than 800 stores in the United States (above), Europe, Asia and Latin America. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

NEW YORK • Forever 21 is preparing for a potential bankruptcy filing as the fashion retailer's cash dwindles and turnaround options fade, according to people with knowledge of the plans.

The company has been in talks for additional financing and is working with a team of advisers to help it restructure its debt, but negotiations with possible lenders have so far stalled, the people said.

Focus has thus shifted towards securing a potential debtor-in-possession loan to take the company into Chapter 11, they said, even as some window remains to strike a last-minute deal that keeps it out of court.

A bankruptcy filing would help the company shed unprofitable stores and recapitalise the business, said the people, who requested anonymity discussing private negotiations. Representatives for Forever 21 did not respond to a request for comment.

Co-founder Chang Do-won had been focused on maintaining a controlling stake in the company, which limited its fund-raising options.

A faction of Forever 21 officials, without the approval of Mr Chang, had asked its biggest landlords to consider taking a stake in the company amid a disagreement within its leadership, Bloomberg previously reported.

Founded in 1984, Forever 21 operates more than 800 stores in the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

It was founded by South Korean husband-and-wife team, Mr Do and his wife Jin Sook, after they immigrated to the US.

Outside the US, most of stores are franchised or operated in joint ventures with local partners.

While there used to be as many as four outlets in Singapore, the brand has closed all but one store, which is at 313@Somerset.

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2019, with the headline 'Forever 21 weighs bankruptcy filing'. Print Edition | Subscribe