Forever 21 Guam closed for good; GPO looking for ‘essential’ tenant as replacement

Forever 21 has a store on island located at Guam Premier Outlets in Tamuning. This has now closed for good.

Forever 21 at the Guam Premier Outlets has closed its doors for good.

GPO general manager Monte Mesa told PNC that the local Forever 21 decided to close shop because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its adverse effect on the retail industry.

“Forever 21 was trying to recover from their ongoing bankruptcy process even before COVID 19 started. However, since the government ordered business closures since March 20, 2020, Forever 21 made the difficult decision to just close down the Guam store last month,” Mesa said.

He added that GPO is working with another “essential-type” retail business to replace Forever 21, hopefully by the end of this year.

Last October, Forever 21’s mother company in the states filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy, closing as many as 350 stores globally.

The Guam store barely escaped that round of closings as 178 stores were closed in the mainland.

According to the company, the bankruptcy filing would allow it to continue to operate its stores as usual while the company takes positive steps to reorganize the business so it can return to profitability.

The bankruptcy marked a dramatic fall for the retailer which was founded in 1984 and was once one of the most popular boutiques patronized by teeners. Along with other fast-rising fashion chains like H&M and Zara, Forever 21 rode a wave of popularity among young customers that took off in the mid-1990s.

Here on Guam, Forever 21’s opening was highly anticipated. During its opening in March 2015, hundreds were already in line as early as 2 am in the morning even before the doors opened.

But Forever 21 went on an aggressive expansion just as shoppers were moving more online.

As of May 2020, Forever 21’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case looks more likely to be converted to Chapter 7 as it has no more than $5 million in its wind-down budget and is unlikely to make payments to its creditors.