Forever 21, the Los Angeles-based cheap-chic clothing store chain, has put in a bid to buy most of Mervyn's stores.

Mervyn's, a mid-range department store company based in Hayward, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late July and is closing 26 of its stores. Forever 21 offered an undisclosed amount for Mervyn's remaining 150 stores.

Christopher Lee, senior vice president for Forever 21, told California Apparel News that the company recently submitted the first bid in Mervyn's bankruptcy proceeding to Miller Buckfire & Co., Mervyn's financial adviser.

Lee also said that Forever 21 had previously tried to buy Mervyn's in 2004 but lost out to investment groups.

Forever 21 has about 430 stores in the United States, most of which are located in malls. In 2006, the company opened a flagship stand-alone store in Pasadena.

Forever 21 want to increase the number of its big-box stores, and the acquisition of Mervyn's could aid in that expansion, Lee said.

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