New York—Forever 21’s mammoth four-story, nearly 100,000-square foot flagship opened today in Time Square, making it the largest single-brand store in Manhattan.
Located at the site of the former Virgin Megastore, the store is equipped to handle the 100,000 or so people that are expected to pass through the fast fashion retailer’s door each day: there are 151 dressing rooms and 32 cash register checkouts. The store will stay open until 2 a.m. to capitalize on the post theater crowd and other attractions in Times Square.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg showed up for the ribbon cutting ceremony noting that since the city closed off portions of Times Square to traffic to make it more pedestrian friendly, foot traffic has increased as well as rents in the area.
The store, which is situated near teen-oriented retailers such as American Eagle Outfitters and a soon-to-open Aeropostale, has been on a roll grabbing up large empty retail spaces left by Mervyn’s on the West Coast.
The Los Angeles-based Forever 21 says its sales will approach $3 billion this year, up from $2.3 billion last year and more than triple its 2005 level.
Goal: ‘A Destination for the Entire Family’
Besides it’s wide assortment of low-priced California-inspired hipster looks and skinny jeans, the flagship features the retail brand’s expanded categories, including a dedicated shoe salon, accessories, men’s, plus sized, its higher end Twelve by Twelve collection and beauty. The company’s owners, Don Chang, and his family reportedly have said they plan to expand the store’s merchandise in home and other areas, making its new locations a destination for the entire family.
The formula evidently is working since the company has continue to grow during the recession—“it got them into other areas, new locations, that would’ve taken them longer if they didn’t have the downturn,” says Dana Telsey, chief executive of equity research firm Telsey Advisory Group. “Their financial capabilities allowed them to take advantage of the opportunities.”
In fact, the store is opening an even bigger flagship in Las Vegas later this year.
After touring the new store, Bloomberg quipped: “Thank you for the great store tour but I think I missed the Forever 68 department.”