Fashion brand Forever 21 returns to Canada with collections in Hudson's Bay stores

The low-cost fashion brand Forever 21 will have its full collections available at certain Hudson's Bay Co. stores across the country, as the U.S.-brand returns to the Canadian market.

The first Hudson's Bay stores started offering Forever 21 products on Friday at Toronto's Yorkdale Mall and the Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, Ont.

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YM Inc., which is the Canadian licensee of the Forever 21 brand, also recently opened standalone stores in Alberta and Quebec, Hudson's Bay said.

Forever 21 shuttered all of its Canadian locations in 2019 after filing for bankruptcy, although many of their stores remained open in the U.S.

The new agreement will see Hudson's Bay as the exclusive retailer of the brand in Canada.

Laura Janney, senior vice president of apparel at Hudson's Bay, said the retails expected to start offering Forever 21 in the fall season, but moved quickly to speed up its launch to Friday to coincide with Ontario allowing retailers to re-open with some restrictions.

She said the brand expects strong demand as people look to buy new clothes, and may have changed sizes from either exercising more during the pandemic or sitting idle during remote work.

"The customer is moving quickly ... our dress business today is really showing a consumer that is moving to what life is going to be like," said Janney, who said the trends were already noticeable in provinces where stores are open, and in online sales.

"We're very optimistic to what people are going to start to do in Canada in dressing up and what we think will happen for us in the next couple months."

Janney said adding Forever 21 helps the retailer diversify its business and offer clothes targeted toward younger customers.

Hudson's Bay expects to start offering Forever 21 at multiple other locations across the country.

— With files from Brett Bundale

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 11, 2021.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version included an erroneous time frame for additional Forever 21 openings.

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