US store Forever 21 opens first store in Birmingham
A US fashion retailer has opened its first European store in Birmingham, creating 250 full-time jobs.
Forever 21, which has about 450 stores worldwide, is based over three floors in the Bullring shopping complex.
The company said next year it would be opening in London as well as in Belgium, France, Spain and Austria.
Model Amber Le Bon, daughter of Duran Duran front man Simon Le Bon, has been signed as the face of its UK launch.
The firm will open in Dublin's Jervis Centre on Saturday.
Forever 21, which offers clothing and accessories for women, men and children, has a 10-year lease at its Birmingham site.
Asked why it had chosen to tackle the UK market now, executive vice president Larry Meyer said: "We've been around for over 25 years and there's always cycles within the economy.
"The customer always knows they will get great value at Forever 21, so the fact that it's a difficult time now just..makes our concept potentially more appealing to people."
Asked why Birmingham, and not London for example, opened first, he said the company has "to wait and find the right location".
Mr Meyer said: "We felt it was a very unique opportunity to obtain 53,000 sq ft within the Bullring and that was just coincidental with vacancies.
"We have been looking at the UK as our first location within Europe, as a natural point of takeoff from the United States to a country that speaks English.
"We came to Birmingham and the Bullring and decided to make this our first store because we knew that Birmingham would be a city that we would eventually get to."
Fifty seasonal employees will also work at the Birmingham site.
The company said over the last year in the US, Canada and Japan it had created more than 5,000 new jobs.