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Business trends

Forever 21 to exit Japan in October

Fast-fashion retailer closes in Hong Kong after winding up in Taiwan and mainland

A Forever 21 outlet in Sapporo: The U.S. fast fashion retailer will cease all operations in Japan at the end of October.

TOKYO -- U.S. fast-fashion chain Forever 21 will close all of its 14 stores in Japan at the end of October, the U.S. company's Japanese arm said Wednesday. It also plans to close its Japanese online store.

The chain closed its last outlet in Hong Kong on Monday, with four years left on its lease. It had shuttered its high- flagship store in Causeway Bay, the city's prime shopping district, in 2017.

Forever 21 closed its stores in Taiwan in March, after what were described in a memo to staff as "years of losses." The group shuttered its online site in mainland China the following month and kicked off clearance sales at its physical stores around the country.

U.S. media reported in August that Forever 21 is considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, as the spread of online retailers has eroded the company's ability to pull in customers and weighed on its financial health.

Forever 21 opened its first store in Japan in Tokyo's Harajuku district in April 2009 and later expanded to other cities. The U.S. company led the fast-fashion trend in Japan, along with Sweden's H&M Hennes & Mauritz, which entered in the country in 2008.

Amid fierce competition, Forever 21 has shrunk its operations, closing its flagship Harajuku store in October 2017.

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