Forever 21’s future in jeopardy

Photo by Alexa Felix

By Alexa Felix, LAYOUT DESIGNER
The popular clothing chain Forever 21 has closed five stores in the SF Bay Area after filing for bankruptcy in September, affecting over 170 employees.
Linda Change, the chain’s executive vice president, has not made any recent comments about their situation but has repeatedly expressed the necessary importance of the bankruptcy in order to secure the company altogether.
“My location isn’t getting closed, but there were weeks when we had no idea what was happening,” states Mahan Ian, current Forever 21 employee. “I know a few workers at other locations that were really upset about the news because they didn’t want to look for another job. It can take a long time to find a secure job.”
Forever 21 employees were taken by surprise when they were informed they no longer had jobs and have since reached out to United For Respect, a multiracial national nonprofit organization that fights for policy change for the better of retail employers. UFR has helped thousands of employees from retail stores that have declared bankruptcy, like Toys ‘R’ Us and Walmart, leaving them in financial crisis.
“Messages from Forever 21 employees started pouring in through social media since they learned of the bankruptcy news,” Esperanza Fonseca, national deputy organization director for United for Respect stated.

Photo by Alexa Felix

Forever 21 employees need a platform that will help them get workers protection and severance pay packages. Forever 21 is not the only retailer who has felt the effects of the growing online world. Online shopping has affected other retail stores such as Payless, Charlotte Russe, Gymboree, and Sears.
There is hope for Forever 21 employees who work inside any mall owned by The Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners. The two groups plan to buy the former tenants in order to keep Forever 21, one of their most profitable stores.
San Francisco’s Forever 21 in Union Square closed Jan. 5 leaving residents of the San Francisco Bay area Peninsula to go to either of the two locations left in nearest San Francisco or across the bridge to the Eastbay for their Forever 21 needs.
“I loved Forever 21, but I also don’t have time to go there in -person, so I do most of my shopping online,” San Francisco resident and Forever 21 shopper, Jessica Traner said.
As of 2020, the company closed 350 stores, 178 of which were in California. Despite this, Forever 21 continues to operate over a hundred stores, along with its website.