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Forever 21 takes over the world

I’m still trying to wrap my brain around business reporter Bethany Clough’s report in today’s Bee that women’s clothing retailer Forever 21 has its eye on a bunch of dying Gottschalks stores, including Fashion Fair and River Park. Isn’t that like, say, a store the size of Radio Shack expanding into Circuit City? Are we really going to get stuck with THREE floors of bright-and-boppy mall-girl fashions targeted at “Twilight” fans? (Actually, Forever 21 says it’ll add men’s clothes as well.)

OK, I’ll admit I’ve never been in Forever 21 except to take a shortcut through to the parking lot, but what I saw certainly didn’t seem to fit the general-interest department-store bill to me. Three floors, two big Fresno stores? Something tells me that all those loyal little old lady-Gottschalks costumers who have been shopping there since 1684 or whenever the venerable chain was founded aren’t going to find much to buy in its replacement.

Update 1 p.m.: Here’s Bethany’s news blog post on the subject.

Update 4 p.m.: Wow, stuff happens fast in the retail world. Bethany reports online that Forever 21 already has dropped its River Park plans. (Did you get to take a lunch break today, Bethany? What do you think will break by the end of the day — that Sak’s Fifth Avenue is moving to Fresno?)

Responses to "Forever 21 takes over the world"

Solitaire says:

ew NO!!! I was SO hoping IKEA was gonna move into the Riverpark store! :(

Luke says:

While I can’t imagine Forever 21 ever having enough merchandise to fill up a department store, I’d be happy to see them carry men’s clothing again. They did for a few months a couple years ago and it was stylish and cheap.

I’d love to see an H&M go in, but I don’t think Fresno could support it.

Danielle says:

The Forever 21 store in SF is three stories and over 20,000+ square feet, and so are most of their flagship stores in other metro areas, so, it’s not unheard of for them. And are you forgetting the spending power of their demographic? You mentioned Twilight like it’s a bad thing, but that movie made tons of $$$, which is more than likely the thinking behind expanding so ambitiously, especially if they can get the property at a good deal. I don’t think it’s such a crazy idea at all, considering the lack of young female-oriented department stores in Riverpark (save for the newly opened Wet Seal, which seems to be doing great every time I’m in there). But you said it yourself, you don’t shop there, so I can see how you would wonder. Personally, I hope it happens and I can’t wait if it does!

Kristen says:

Considering that the Fashion Fair Gottschalks is over 85,000 sq ft, it seems like way too large a space for a specialty shop. Not that the Frenso demographic isn’t perfectly aligned for their target market, but I’m thinking its a little ambitious…

I heard a rumor that Nordstrom was looking into the River Park location… now THAT would be a good move.