July 28, 2011
This week value fashion retailer Forever 21 threw open the doors of its first store on London’s Oxford Street. The arrival of the US giant to the UK’s capital has been long awaited for whilst the retailer has signed a number of deals for stores across the country the only store open to date in the UK had been at Birmingham’s Bullring. The new Oxford Street store will be the retailer’s UK flagship.
Ahead of the opening however Forever 21 held its pre-launch event allowing those in the industry, including ourselves, a sneak preview of the temptations that lay in wait for London’s fashion shoppers.
Walking towards the store, which is almost directly opposite Bond Street station at number 360 in the former HMV unit, you can’t help but notice the striking new illuminated shop fascia, which successfully sets it apart from its neighbours. Crowds of eager shoppers were already trying to get into the store with the disappointment clearly visible on their faces when they were told they had to wait another night for the official public opening.
Along with the fruity Prosecco and interesting canapés, we got a preview taste of the Forever 21 shopping experience and from what we saw it certainly looks set to satisfy the appetite of London shoppers with the round the block queues experienced by the retailer the following day at its opening further proof of its likely success.
With innovation key to the fashion and retail industry Forever 21 delivers. The offer is spread over three storeys that cover 35,000 sq ft of retail space with themed areas based around specific ‘looks’ such as cowgirl and garden party.
Coupled with this were Americanised graffiti covered walls, staff in push up socks and roller skating girls handing out fliers. The ‘LA feel’ which has contributed to the success of other brands such as American Apparel could also be a winning formula for Forever 21 in the lower cost bracket.
With over 450 stores in the US, Forever 21 has already proved it is a giant to contend with successfully rivalling our own New Look. In addition the retailer also has stores in South Korea, Japan, the Middle East and Canada with China next on the expansion list. In Europe, Forever 21, advised by our client Harper Dennis Hobbs , has signed up for stores in Spain, Austria, France and Israel, and opens in Brussels this Friday. If it lives up to the early promise of its London debut then it looks like Forever 21 will be here to stay.