Forever 21 reportedly eyes bankruptcy as retailer struggles to return profits

It’s a short trip from Forever 21 to formerly 21.

Facing flagging financial straits, the retailer — whose 1984 launch puts its true age at a hearty 35 — is preparing for a possible bankruptcy filing, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

Such a filing could leave many of the retailer’s more than 800 locations in limbo, as it would allow the discount fashion chain to shed struggling shops, sources told Bloomberg.

Related: Retail Stores Closing Doors

Retail Stores Closing Doors
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Retail Stores Closing Doors
Announcements continue to roll in from retailers that have decided to close stores, slow expansion plans or cease operations altogether.

From Blockbuster to Payless, we update our 2009 roundup with the latest news from the third quarter. See which retailers are closing (at least some) of their doors. Are any of them your favorites?

First Up: Payless ShoeSource
Announced: September 3, 2009

Collective Brands Inc., the operator of Payless ShoeSource, announced that during the second quarter of 2009 it closed a net of 17 Payless stores. For the fiscal year 2009, the net store closing for Payless will be 67.

(Editor's Note: We have updated the Payless store closing numbers to reflect the "net store closings" which takes into account store openings as well.)

Next: Zales
Announced: August 6, 2009

The Texas-based jewelery company has shut down 118 locations over the past quarter and 191 so far in 2009. 160 were stores, while 31 were kiosks. There are almost 2,000 locations still in operation.

Next: Blockbuster
Announced: September 15, 2009

The struggling video rental chain said they may shut down up to 20% of their stores before 2011 as competition from Netflix, Redbox and others have hurt its business. The move would mean closing between 810 and 960 of its 4,356 U.S. stores. Instead, the company plans to shift its focus to DVD-rental kiosks in the stores of other merchants. As of the end of August, it had just 500 kiosks, but hopes to have 10,000 by the middle of 2010.

Next: Smith & Hawken
Announced: July 9, 2009

The upscale garden store said it will shut down all of its 56 stores, currently located in 22 states and D.C. The 30-year old chain tried to find a buyer for over a year. The CEO said "While this is a sad outcome, the combination of a weak economy and the lack of scale proved too great to overcome."

Next: Crabtree & Evelyn
Announced: July 1, 2009

The bath and body chain, founded in 1973, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The 126-store chain plans to close underperforming stores in the coming months.

Next: Big 10 Tires
Announced: July 29, 2009

According to CoStar Group, Mobile, AL-based Big 10 Tire Stores filed chapter 11 bankruptcy in April. At the time of the filing, the 104-store chain announced no intention to close stores but said it would attempt to obtain rent relief from its landlords. Through bankruptcy reorganization, Big 10 is now requesting lease cancellations on eight stores in Alabama, 14 in Florida and 10 in Georgia.

Next: Bank of America
Announced: July 28, 2009

CEO Ken Lewis said he is planning to shrink the bank's 6,100-branch network by about 10 percent. The move would be a pullback from the bank's two-decade expansion.

Next: Citigroup
Announced: September 24, 2009

Citigroup announced that it is going to lower the number of U.S. retail outlets, limiting the banks to six major metropolitan areas. It is likely the bank will be a presence mainly in New York, Washington D.C., Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. It will release its plans in October.

Next: PacSun
Announced: August 20, 2009

In its most recent quarterly report, PacSun said it expects it will close a total of 40 stores during 2009 -- it closed 16 of them during the first half of this year. As of August 1, PacSun leased and operated 916 U.S. stores. (Source: CoStar Group)

Next: Bulgari
Announced: August 28, 2009

The Italian jeweler closed stores in Palm Beach and Aspen, as well as its New York Madison Avenue store to help shore up lagging growth.

Next: Sears & Kmart
Announced: August 20, 2009

Sears Holdings Corporation announced that it would close an additional 28 underperforming stores (22 Kmart, 6 Sears) during the second half of this year.

Next: Samsonite
Announced: September 2, 2009

The world's largest luggage company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. As part of its reorganization plan, Samsonite said it would close up to 84 of its 173 U.S. stores, which are located across 38 states.

Next: See 2nd Quarter Announcements
Announced: April 1, 2009

Borders Group Inc (plans to close most of its Waldenbooks stores as it cuts costs and strives to pay down debt amid a bleak environment for U.S. book retailers. It sees only 50-60 Waldenbooks in the future, down from 300.

Next: JoAnn Stores
Announced: May 27, 2009

During the first quarter of fiscal 2010, the company opened 11 large-format stores and one small-format store and closed one large-format store and 12 small-format stores. For fiscal 2010, the company expects to open approximately 20 new stores and close approximately 30 stores.

Next: Rite Aid
Rite Aid Corp. plans to close as many as 117 stores over the next year, according to an Associated Press report. Reporting that its loss doubled in its fourth quarter, the drugstore operator said the closings will be scattered around the country, targeting those with weak sales or close to another Rite Aid.

Next: J. Jill
Announced: June 8, 2009

Talbots sale of J.Jill will result in 75 closures. Talbots Inc. agreed to sell almost all the assets of its J. Jill brand to an affiliate of private-equity firm Golden Gate Capital for about $75 million. J. Jill will continue to operate from Quincy, Massachusetts. The buyer will retain a distribution center in New Hampshire and keep open 204 of the existing 279 J. Jill stores.

Next: Jones Apparel
Announced: April 29, 2009

Jones Apparel Group Inc. said its first-quarter profit tumbled 98%, hurt by restructuring charges and lower demand for most product categories as consumers cut discretionary spending. To bolster profit, Jones plans to shut 225 single-branded underperforming stores, or about 20% of its store base, over the next two years even as it continues to test and evaluate new concepts.

Next: Whataburger
Announced: May 22, 2009

Whataburger closed 14 Florida company-owned restaurants May 31, including two each in Gainesville and Ocala, citing low sales. The company will have 38 remaining locations from Pensacola to Jacksonville, among more than 700 across 10 Southern states. Whataburger was founded in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1950, and was known for its white and orange-striped A-frames, of which 20 remain.

Next: Advanced Auto Parts
The company said that during the first quarter it examined all its stores based on profit, cash flow, store sales potential and lease rates. That prompted it to close four stores during the quarter, and it expects to sell off 40 to 55 unprofitable stores this year "that are delivering unacceptable strategic or financial results," the company said.

Next: Advance America Cash Advance Centers
Announced: April 29, 2009

During the first quarter of 2009, the Company closed 60 centers in 15 different states and 1 center in the United Kingdom. In addition, the Company expects to close approximately 130 additional centers due to under-performance or where consolidation opportunities exist.

Next: Ruehl
Announced: June 19, 2009

Specialty apparel retailer, Abercrombie & Fitch is discontinuing its Ruehl division. The retailer is closing all of its 29 Ruehl stores by the end of 2009.

Next: Boater's World
Announced: February & April 2009

Despite 2008 sales of almost $1 billion, parent company Ritz Camera Centers said in its petition in February the recession and consumers transition to digital photography left the company no choice but to cut loose its Boaters World division. It will close 129 Boaters World stores in 27 states and liquidate its inventory.

Next: General Motors
Announced: May 2009

GM announced in May that they would not be renewing contracts with over a thousand car dealerships.

Next: Chrysler
Announced: May 14, 2009

Chrysler plans to shut 1 in 4 of its U.S. dealers. In all, nearly 800 dealers selling various Chrysler brands were given notice in May that they would be cut off in June.

Next: Pier 1 Imports
Announced: March 20, 2009

The home decorating store announced that it expects to close no more than 80 stores over the next fiscal year.

Next: Starbucks
Announced: Jan. 28, 2009

After years of ambitious expansion, coffee retailer Starbucks announced in July 2008 that it would close 600 U.S. stores, most of which were opened only in the last two years. On Jan. 28, Starbucks said that it would close an additional 300 stores.

Next: Ann Taylor
Announced: March 6, 2009

Retailer Ann Taylor said it would now close a total of 163 stores by the end of fiscal 2010. Previously, it said it would close 117 stores.

Next: Macy's
Announced: Jan. 8, 2009

On Jan. 8, after one of the worst holiday seasons in decades, Macy's announced it will close 11 stores. The department store operator, which runs more than 810 Macy's stores and also operates the Bloomingdale's chain, had reported a $30 million loss in the first nine months of 2008, with sales dropping 4.3 percent.

Next: Home Depot Expo Centers
Announced: Jan. 26, 2009

Home Depot announced Jan. 26 it plans to close all 34 of its Expo Design Centers.

Next: Circuit City
Announced: Jan. 16, 2009

Circuit City, the second-biggest U.S. electronics retailer reached an agreement with liquidators Jan. 16 to sell the merchandise in its remaining stores. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in November.

Next: American Greetings
Announced: Jan. 22, 2009

American Greetings Corp. is closing 60 stores nationwide -- 14 percent of the company's 415 locations. All were scheduled to close by February 28.

Next: Ruby Tuesday
Announced: Late Dec.

Ruby Tuesday Inc. announced that it plans to close about 70 corporate-owned locations nationwide over the next several years, resulting in restructuring and other charges of $40 million to $55 million over the next two quarters.

Next: Sportsman's Warehouse
Announced: March 12, 2009

Outdoor retailer Sportsman's Warehouse, which sells gear for hunting, camping, fishing and other outdoor activities in 29 states, said that it would close 23 stores and sell another 15 as sales tumble.

Next: Iridesse
Announced: March 11, 2009

Luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. said it plans to close its unprofitable Iridesse pearl jewelry chain, partly because of a tough economy that has hindered demand for jewelry. There are 16 Iridesse locations nationwide, located mostly on the East and West coasts.

Next: Fortunoff
Announced: Feb. 4, 2009

Fortunoff Fine Jewelry & Silverware closed the doors at its 57th Street and Fifth Avenue flagship location, Feb. 4. The company is in talks to liquidate its inventory.

Next: Phillips-Van Heusen
Announced: Jan. 21, 2009

In an effort to slash costs, Phillips-Van Heusen, the parent company of Calvin Klein, Izod and Van Heusen clothing brands, said Jan. 21 that it would close 175 stores, reduce its warehouse capacity and cut travel, marketing and administrative expenses. The restructuring is expected to save the company about $40 million per year before taxes.

Next: Yankee Candle
Announced: Jan. 21, 2009

Yankee Candle announced Jan. 21 it will close 28 Illuminations retail stores, which are located primarily on the West Coast, as well one Yankee Candle store.

Next: Virgin Megastore
Announced: Jan. 15, 2009

All Virgin Megastores in the U.S. are set to close up shop by summer.

Next: Supervalu's Cub Foods
Announced: Jan. 14, 2009

Supervalu announced Jan. 14 it will begin closing 50 grocery stores from various chains it owns, including Cub Foods, Albertsons, Shop 'n Save, Shaw's Star and others.

Next: Goody's Family Clothing
Announced: Jan. 14, 2009

Tennessee-based Goody's, which just emerged from bankruptcy protection in October, announced Jan. 14 that it was again filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company also said that it would liquidate its remaining 282 stores.

Next: Sweetbay Supermarkets
Announced: Feb. 16, 2009

Tampa-based Sweetbay Supermarkets will close seven underperforming grocery stores.

Next: World Market
Announced: Jan. 13, 2009

Cost Plus, Inc. plans to close 26 of its World Market stores and exit eight markets.

Next: Oneida
Announced: Jan. 8, 2009

Oneida Ltd., the flatware and dinnerware manufacturer based in Oneida, said it will close its 20 outlet stores in North America.

Next: S&K Famous Brands
Announced: March 23, 2009

Less than a month after the Feb. 9 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Richmond, Va.-based S&K Famous Brands Inc. and Hilco Merchant Resources LLC have started liquidating the merchandise at 22 percent of its 136 stores. 30 stores in the chain will shut their doors as part of the parent company's Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy.

Next: Famous Footwear
Announced: Jan. 21, 2009

Reuters says Brown Shoe Co. plans to close 30 to 35 of its Famous Footwear stores this year.

Next: Claire's
Announced: Feb. 15, 2009

The retailer of jewelry and fashion accessories for girls, is closing 119 stores.

Next: Kira Plastinina
Announced: Jan. 12, 2009

Kira Plastinina filed for bankruptcy protection within the first days of 2009. The Russian-based teenage designer, who just broke into the US market mid-2008, reportedly owes creditors over $54 million and will close all 12 U.S. stores.

Next: Whole Foods & Wild Oats
Announced: March 6, 2009

Whole Foods is selling 13 of its stores as part of a settlement with the FTC. The stores include 12 Wild Oats stores and one Whole Foods store.

Next: Bealls
Announced: Feb. 19, 2009

Bealls is closing 12 outlet stores out of over 500 total stores, reports the 'Bradenton Herald.' The stores will close in Florida, Georgia, and Arizona.

Next: Gap Inc.
Announced: Feb. 26, 2009

Gap, Inc. plans to close about 100 stores while opening 50 new stores in 2009.

Next: Canadian Sam's Club Stores
Announced: Feb. 26, 2009

Bloomberg reports that Wal-Mart is going to close all six of its Sam's Club stores in Canada. Wal-Mart says the stores failed to meet sales expectations. 1,200 jobs will be cut as a result.

Next: Bassett Furniture
Announced: Feb. 12, 2009

The furniture store announced it plans to close another eight to ten licensed stores in 2009.

Next: Z Gallerie
Announced: Feb. 20, 2009

The home decor retailer is closing 25 of its 77 locations.

Next: Jimmy'z
Announced: Feb. 23, 2009

Aeropostale Inc. is closing its 11 Jimmy'Z concept stores, reports the 'Wall Street Journal.'

Next: Bruno's
Announced: Feb. 18, 2009

The grocery store chain in Alabama and the Florida Panhandle is closing four Bruno's stores and six Food World stores.

Next: Filene's Basement
Announced: Jan. 21, 2009 and May 4, 2009

The discount retailer which is most famous for its "Running of the Brides' wedding gown sale announced in January it would close 11 of its 36 stores.

In May, the company that owns the remaining 25 stores filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The 100-year company was last in bankruptcy court in 2000.
More: Filene's Latest Bankruptcy News

Next: New York & Company
Announced: Jan. 8, 2009

Specialty apparel retailer New York & Co. said today it will cut 310 mostly managerial positions and close up to 50 stores over the next five years in an effort to counter declining consumer spending.

Next: Chico's
Announced: Jan. 29, 2009

Clothing company Chico's said it is eliminating 180 positions and may close up to 25 stores to cope with the economy's toll on retailers.

Next: Snyders Drug Stores
Announced: Feb. 5, 2009

The Snyders Drug Store chain is closing 19 of 47 company-owned stores amid the challenging economic environment.

Next: Better Bedding
Announced: March 3, 2009

Better Bedding Shops Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed 11 of its 21 stores in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Next: Gottschalks
Announced: March 31, 2009

Retailer Gottschalks announced Jan. 14 that it had put itself up for sale and filed to reorganize in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But as of the end of March, it had not found a buyer and announced it will liquidate its 58 department stores and three specialty clothing stores in California, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada and Idaho.

Next: Costco Home Stores
Announced: April 2, 2009

Costco one of the world's largest wholesale club chains, said April 2 that it would close its two furnishing stores store in July. Home furnishing stores have been hard hit during the recession as consumers cut back on spending, forcing many to shutter operations

Next: Ritz Camera
Announced: April 2, 2009

As it looks to reorganize under bankruptcy protection, Ritz Camera will be closing 300 of its nationwide retail locations. Approximately 400 Ritz camera locations will remain in operation. Ritz was one of the first camera chains, but has fallen on hard times recently.

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Think you know which retailer may be next to announce closings? Tell us which one and why.
Shoppers Predict Retailers in Danger


That, in turn, could prove a headache for American malls that devote significant space to the retailer.

Forever 21 did not immediately return to a request for comment Wednesday night.

The Los Angeles-based store has five locations in Manhattan.

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