Founded in 1984 as a single store in Los Angeles, Forever 21 is currently a phenomenon in the fashion world. Internationally, the company has upwards of 500 stores, mostly in the U.S., but also in Canada, Japan, Korea, the Middle East and the Philippines. In late 2010 it established stores in the UK and Ireland and in Austria, Belgium, and Spain in 2011. Annual revenue is about $2.6 billion worldwide.
Early in 2010, Forever 21 established its European headquarters in Breda, which serves as a robust backbone for administrative functions, including accounting, IT, and an online call center. The company’s European distribution center is also based in the Netherlands in Bergen op Zoom. Launched in February 2011, this operation delivers to the European stores as well as the online shop.
“From our research, we understood that Netherlands was one of the key countries where many international companies have settled their headquarters and logistics,” said Young Kwon, General Counsel for Forever 21. “It has centralized location within the European community. Among other advantages, the Netherlands workforce is multilingual, which is a key component in effective communication with the employees in our various retail locations throughout Europe, as well as ensuring that we provide quality service to our e-commerce customers as we continue to build our customer base in Europe. In making this decision, we were of course mindful of the benefits offered by the Netherlands in the areas of duties, taxes and other business matters.”
“We’re very grateful to the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, which walked us through the steps necessary to establish our presence in Europe,” said Kwon. “The NFIA helped us get acquainted with what we could expect during our entry process and facilitated setting up meetings with government personnel.”