Forever 21 is headed across the pond to compete with UK high street staples like Topshop and Primark. Their first outpost opens in Birmingham today, to be followed by stores in London and Dublin. This, on the heels of the opening of their 91,000 square foot flagship store in Times Square. The recession has been kind to Forever 21.
"The customer always knows they will get great value at Forever 21, so the fact that it's a difficult time now just..makes our concept potentially more appealing to people," executive vice president Larry Meyer told the BBC.
But the Daily Mail is griping that while the UK prices are still cheap, they are significantly marked up from their prices in the US. The paper's story, which ran with the headline "Chic, but not THAT cheap: US High Street favourite Forever 21 hits UK (but why are prices 25 per cent higher here?)" points out that "a dotted abstract skirt that sells for the equivalent of £11.08 in the US comes in at £13.80 in the UK, a mark-up of 24.5per cent," and that "a faux leather jacket with a studded leather collar is £39.80 in this country, which is some 33per cent more than the £29.76 in the US and Canada."
When asked about the pricing differential, a spokesperson for Forever 21 told the Mail, "When pricing our ranges we do not simply replace the dollar sign, we carefully consider all the local influencing factors such VAT and import costs."
Of course, this is a problem we're all too familiar with. When Topshop arrived stateside, rather than adjusting prices based on the exchange rate, they seemed to simply double them and slap a dollar sign on the tag.
If only there could be some sort of truce wherein Topshop adjusts their pricing in the US and Forever 21 does the same in the UK...