Mall owners want to buy a mall staple: Forever 21

American malls are already ghost towns, and Forever 21’s departure could make things worse.

The mall magnates Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners are part of a group that wants to buy the fast-fashion trailblazer Forever 21.

Mall owners want to buy a mall staple: Forever 21

The $81m price tag would be a downright steal for a company whose annual revenues once exceeded $4B

If it sounds like a fire sale, Fast Company explains why it makes sense: The landlords are trying to keep their tenant from leaving town.

That’s because malls are already ghost towns…

… and Forever 21’s exit would probably make things worse. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in September, announcing a plan to close hundreds of stores.

At the time, experts said the move was a sign that fast fashion was going out of style:

  • Those dirt-cheap duds are terrible on the environment, and younger buyers are getting thrifty.
  • Worker safety is a big concern. In 2013, more than 1k people died in a garment-factory collapse in Bangladesh.

So was the fast-fashion frenzy just a fad in a cheap suit?

Maybe! Vox pointed to some McKinsey research projecting a dim outlook for global fashion brands in 2020.

  • 58% of fashion honchos said they expected the forecast for value-oriented outfits (that’s you, Forever 21) to get worse.
  • Consumers are only going to demand more sustainable choices, but the industry has a lot of catching up to do. Just one example: Fashion accounts for 20-35% of microplastic flows into the ocean.

But experts say there’s still a gap between what consumers say they want (greener jeans) and what they actually buy (cut-rate clothes).

This sale isn’t final — yet

Forever 21 wants the mall owners’ group to be the lead bidders in a bankruptcy auction. Rival bidders have until Friday to make a counteroffer.

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