Low-cost fashion retailer Forever 21 says it has filed for bankruptcy protection—but that doesn't mean it is doomed. In a letter to customers Sunday, the 35-year-old chain said it will be business as usual during reorganization and filing for Chapter 11 protection "is a deliberate and decisive step to put us on a successful track for the future." The company says, however, that it is going to close up to 178 of its 500 or so stores in the US, as well as many of its approximately 300 international locations, the AP reports. That will include all 44 stores in Canada as well as most of its locations in Asia and Europe, though the company says most of its stores in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America will remain open.
"Once we complete a reorganization, Forever 21 will be a stronger, more viable company that is better positioned to prosper for years to come," the company said. Analysts say the company has been struggling with changing consumer tastes and competition from online retailers. "The entry of Forever 21 into Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a consequence of both changing trends and tastes within the apparel market and of missteps by the company," Neil Saunders at GlobalData Retail tells the BBC. "Over the past few years, the brand has lost much of the excitement and oomph which is critical to driving footfall and sales and is now something of an also-ran which is too easily overlooked." (Read more Forever 21 stories.)