Forever 21 timeline

  • Can US brand Forever 21 and speed retailing take over the British high street? Read our feature here
  • Find out why a retail analyst believes in Forever 21’s success, here
  • Read our Q&A with Forever 21’s head of marketing Linda Chang and executive vice-president Larry Meyer, here
  • Find out why Forever 21 feel confident in the UK market, here
  • 1984: Korean-American Do Won Chang and his wife Jin Sook open their first store, Fashion 21, in Los Angeles, measuring 900 square feet. Sales at the end of the first year total $700,000. The Changs open a new store every six months, changing the chain’s name to Forever 21.
  • 1989: Forever 21 opens its first mall-based store in Panorama City, California. Store sizes are now beginning to average 5,000 square feet.
  • 2001: Four 24,000 square feet XXI flagship stores open in Texas, Miami, LA, Chicago and Canada. Larry Meyer joins as chief financial officer, becoming executive vice-president in 2006.
  • 2006: Forever 21’s new flagship store in Pasadena, California marks the brand’s first use of the ’shop in a shop’ concept, with the store layout made up of mini boutique areas stocked with various sub-brands.
  • 2008: Chang daughters Linda and Esther join the fashion empire as chief marketing officer and chief visual officer, respectively.
  • 2010: Forever 21 opens its first European store in Birmingham, followed by its second in Dublin.
  • 2011: London flagship stores are unveiled on Oxford Street and Westfield Stratford City, spanning 35,000 and 68,000 square feet respectively. Future UK openings are planned for Lakeside in Essex, Bluewater in Kent, Liverpool One, Glasgow and in the MetroCentre in Gateshead. European store openings this year include Brussels, Antwerp, Barcelona, Vienna and Paris. The store footprint spans around 480 outlets, with sub-brands such as Forever 21+, For Love21 and 21Men. Forbes magazine estimates the Chang family to be worth $2.2bn.

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