When Rong Tang made her monthly trip to the Oaks Mall Forever 21, something was different.
“We didn’t hear anything, but this is the bag they gave us,” said Tang a 22-year-old UF biochemistry senior, pointing to a generic, logo-less black shopping bag that looked nothing like the company’s signature yellow bag.
This is only one symptom of Forever 21’s recent announcement of bankruptcy.
According to a public statement from the company on Sunday, the bankruptcy does not mean the company is going out of business, but merely taking steps to “reorganize” the business.
Decisions as to which domestic and international stores will be closed are pending, according to the statement. It may close “as many as 178 locations in the U.S.”
The Oaks Mall Forever 21 confirmed the store will remain open, but declined to comment further.
Local bargain hunter Oliver Su, a 21-year-old UF electrical engineering senior who visited the Oaks Mall with Tang, said he waited eagerly to take advantage of potential close-out sales and deals.
“That’s why we came here, to maybe get a discount here,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sarah Miller, a 25-year-old UF nursing graduate student, heard about the bankruptcy online but was uncertain about how it would affect the Oaks Mall.
“We hadn’t heard much besides a post on Instagram that said something like, ‘Forever 21 declared bankruptcy: looks like it's not forever,” Miller said.
Miller, a semi-frequent visitor to the Oaks Mall, depending on how often she wants to get her eyebrows done, said she stops by Forever 21 on most of her trips.
Miller first estimated that she had been to the Oaks Mall five times this year, although her friend, who was with her at the time, said it was more like five times this month.
“We’re frequent fliers,” Miller said. “We’ll definitely keep shopping here.”
Ashley Lazarski contributed to this story.
The Oaks Mall Forever 21, which will be staying open despite the company's recent bankruptcy.