The store started selling products online on Tuesday morning through an e-commerce site operated by Japanese apparel company Adastria. It also opened a limited-time pop-up store in Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya district on the same day.
“I feel like their prices have gone up, but the fabric seems durable so I could probably wear them for a long time,” said a woman in her 20s who visited the pop-up store, where people were lining up before the 11:00 a.m. opening. She had viewed the products online, but visited the shop to check the quality of the fabric.
The company plans to open its first permanent store in Osaka in April. It aims for 15 stores in the country by February 2028, with sales including online totaling 10 billion yen ($74.5 million).
Forever 21 made a full-scale entry into Japan in 2009, operating about 20 stores at one point and leading the fast-fashion boom in the country. But the rise of online shopping and changes in consumer tastes cut into sales, leading the American parent company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2019.
The retailer withdrew from Japan in October of that year. In 2022, Japanese trading house Itochu bought the rights for the brand in the Japanese market from a U.S. investment fund that acquired Forever 21 in 2020. Itochu signed a sublicense agreement with Adastria.
About 80% of the company’s new collection was developed by Adastria for Japanese consumers, with the average price of items set around 4,000 yen. Forever 21 aims to position itself as a brand that offers both affordable prices and high fashion sense, focusing on women in their teens to 30s.
The company is taking environmentally friendly initiatives such as improving inventory control, collecting used clothing and reducing the amount of water used during denim processing, hoping to move on from fast fashion’s image of producing, selling and disposing of mass quantities of clothing.
The Tokyo pop-up store is open until Sunday, and most items on display must be purchased online. In March, another pop-up shop will open at a mall in Yokohama, south of Tokyo.
Source: Retail News Asia