• Kyodo

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The Japanese unit of fast fashion retailer Forever 21 Inc. said Wednesday it will close all 14 stores in the country and its online shop by the end of October amid intensifying competition with other online apparel retailers.

The company did not explain the reason for withdrawing from the Japanese market. The announcement follows U.S. media reports in August that the Los Angeles-based company has been considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Forever 21 opened its first outlet in Japan in the trend-setting Harajuku district in Tokyo in 2009, which it closed in 2017, and currently operates stores in Yokohama, Osaka and other major cities across the country.

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