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Forever 21 continues expansion by bidding for Gottschalks locations

May 21, 2009 |  5:57 pm

After snapping up 15 former Mervyns leases last year, Forever 21 is at it again.

The Los Angeles retailer, known for its hip, affordable clothing, has agreed to purchase three former Gottschalks stores and to take over as many as 14 of the bankrupt department store chain's leases, according to Forever 21 Executive Vice President Larry Meyer.

"We're acquiring these locations which is consistent with our strategy to expand our fashion merchandise at great value to more customers," he said.

The deal has to be approved during a bankruptcy auction scheduled for May 28 and other parties can still submit overbids. Among the leases that Forever 21 hopes to acquire include locations in Riverside, Bakersfield and Hemet, Meyer said.

After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, Gottschalks announced in March that it planned to liquidate. The 105-year-old Fresno chain sold fashion apparel, shoes, accessories and home merchandise through 55 department stores and three specialty apparel stores, mostly in California.

-- Andrea Chang

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