Forever 21 is relaunching in Canada as an e-commerce site
It feels like just yesterday that America's OG fast fashion giant, Forever 21, announced it would be leaving Canada for good.
In actual fact, the news was announced roughly three months ago, after the chain's L.A.-based parent company filed for bankruptcy. All 44 of Forever 21's Canadian locations were shuttered by the end of November (after one heck of a liquidation sale, mind you), and that was that.
Or so we thought.
Industry magazine Chain Store Age (CSA) reports that Forever 21 is planning to relaunch across Canada, Asia and Latin America in the form of "localized" e-commerce websites specifically targeting international customers.
"This offering enables shoppers in target markets to purchase in their local currency with guaranteed duties and taxes calculation, a prepayment option, and competitive shipping rates with free shipping over a specified threshold," notes CSA.
"Forever 21 will now be able to provide its customers in Canada and in markets across Asia, Asia-Pacific and Latin America with an enhanced online shopping experience that is adjusted according to the local market’s characteristics and customer preferences."
What this means is that budget-conscious Canadian trendonistas can soon once again purchase cheap items they'll probably only wear once from Forever 21 (without going to the states.)
They'll also be able to do so without setting foot in one of the chain's notoriously chaotic showrooms, where racks upon racks of tops falling off their hangers and piles of disorganized leggings have been known to induce panic attacks.
"The rationale is that the 'localized' Canadian e-commerce site will drive sales while again growing Forever 21's market share in Canada after its exit from the market several months ago," writes Toronto-based Retail Insider of the move.
"Given the retailer's lack of success in Canada when it had brick-and-mortar stores, it’s questionable if having an online presence will be worth the effort and online returns could become a significant issue."
Meanwhile, an executive representing the company Forever 21 is partnering with to open these new digital stores thinks the model will work as intended.
"More than 80 per cent of Canadian online shoppers are now purchasing from international retailers," said Matthew Merrilees, CEO of Global-e's North American division, in a piece published by the U.K.'s Retail Times.
"Brands like Forever 21 understand that in order to boost global sales, it is crucial to create an online presence that is fully localised to each individual market," he continued.
"Not only does this create a seamless shopping experience that feels familiar to the consumer, but also ensures that brands like Forever 21 continue to uphold their famously high standards of customer service."
While many would disagree that "customer service" is what Forever 21 is famous for, you can bet many Canadians will creeping the chain's new e-commerce website when it launches on a yet-to-be-announced date.
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