Riley Rose at Glendale Galleria.

Riley Rose at Glendale Galleria.

Fast-fashion clothing retailer Forever 21 Inc. is moving into the beauty and home furnishings market.

The Highland Park-based business, L.A. County’s sixth-largest private company based on estimated 2016 revenue of $4 billion, opened the first store of its new beauty concept Riley Rose at the Glendale Galleria last month (see related story on Largest Private Companies, page 1; list, page 12).

The mall’s owner, Chicago retail real estate firm GGP Inc., announced in May that Forever 21 would open 13 Riley Rose stores at GGP’s regional shopping centers over this year and the next.

“These new, experiential spaces will be focused on accessories, cosmetics and home goods for the millennial consumer,” Do Wong Chang, Forever 21’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Chang and his wife, Jin Sook Chang, who is Forever 21’s chief merchandising officer, together ranked No. 25 on the Business Journal’s Wealthiest Angelenos list. The couple has an estimated net worth of $3.4 billion.

The move into beauty retail is the company’s latest attempt to reinvigorate sales, which have slowed in recent years.

The beauty industry has been a bright spot amid the retail industry’s general struggle with the shift to ecommerce. The U.S. cosmetic industry generates almost $56.9 in revenue annually, according to a report published last month by the Statistic Brain Research Institute.

One of the big winners has been Bolingbrook, Ill.-based beauty store chain Ulta Beauty Inc., which increased its L.A. County store count to 18 this year with a new location in Santa Monica. The $11.9 billion public company increased its revenue almost 24 percent to $4.9 billion in fiscal year 2016 from $3.9 billion the year prior, it said in documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Forever 21 is shifting its strategy on the clothing front, too. The company announced in April that it would more than double the number of locations of its off-price clothing concept F21 Red by opening 40 more locations.

Off-price retailers including TJX Co. Inc.’s TJ Maxx and Marshalls have flourished amid the post-recession environment and continue to open stores.

Gap Inc. said last month that it would close stores of its flagship brand Gap while increasing the number of locations of Old Navy, its lower-priced brand. Forever 21 doesn’t appear to have opened any new Forever 21 stores this year.

Ice Cream Wars

Changing tastes and preferences have driven up sales of healthier or more indulgent ice creams in recent years, while driving down sales of traditional brands, according to analysts.


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