Forever 21 To Sell Retail Business

Forever 21 has reportedly reached a deal to sell its retail business for $81 million. The sale would include all of Forever 21’s assets, including its remaining stores and its beauty line RileyRose. According to the bankruptcy court filing, Forever 21 is planning to seek approval of the sale by Feb. 11.

The retail business would be sold to a group that includes Simon Property Group, Brookfield Property Partners, and Authentic Brands. Simon and Brookfield are two of Forever 21’s biggest landlords, with Simon’s malls hosting nearly 100 Forever 21 stores.

Authentic Brands Group holds a retail portfolio that includes Nine West and Nautica and occasionally acquires the licensing rights to troubled retailers. It previously acquired the rights to Barneys New York. The $271 million Barneys deal was approved in October and involved closing the retailer’s doors.

Forever 21 was founded in 1984 by the Chang family. Based in Los Angeles, the privately held company grew in popularity during the Great Recession, when shoppers looked for fashion bargains to stretch their budgets. Since then, younger customers have increasingly turned away from malls in favor of online brands and thrift stores.

Forever 21 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September. As of the bankruptcy filing, it operated about 800 stores worldwide, including more than 500 stores in the U.S. The company has since shuttered more than 100 locations.

Selling to a new owner will allow Forever 21 to continue operating, the company said in a statement. It said that it would still operate its e-commerce business, which accounts for 16 percent of the company’s total sales.

Rival bidders have until Friday to make any counteroffers. If other bids are made, an auction will be held on Feb. 10. If a higher bid is accepted, there’s a breakup fee of $4.6 million.