Forever 21 Inc filed for bankruptcy protection at the weekend as the teenage fashion retailer revealed plans to close most of its stores in Asia and Europe, although it said it does not expect to exit any major markets in the United States.

The privately-owned company, which was founded in 1984 by billionaire Korean-born American businessman, Do Won Chang and his wife Jin Sook Chang, said the restructuring will allow it to focus on the profitable core part of its operations. It currently has 815 stores in 57 countries.

In a statement, Forever 21 said: “We have requested approval to close up to 178 stores across the U.S. The decisions as to which domestic stores will be closing are ongoing, pending the outcome of continued conversations with landlords.”

Last week, Forever 21 said it would exit Japan and close all 14 stores at the end of October. The company also said its Canadian subsidiary filed for bankruptcy and it plans to wind down the business, closing 44 stores in the country. Forever 21 plans to continue operations in Mexico and Latin America.

Since the start of 2017, more than 20 US retailers, including Sears Holdings and Toys ‘R’ Us, have filed for bankruptcy as more customers shop online, with shopping malls losing out to e-commerce giants such as Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN).

Contact the author at