GLOBAL – Global fashion retailer Forever 21 Inc has filed for bankruptcy and announced that it plans to close over 350 stores and cease operations in over 40 countries as part of its business restructuring process.

Forever 21 said the restructuring will allow it to focus on the profitable core part of its operations and shut some international locations.

“We have requested approval to close up to 178 stores across the U.S,” the company said in an email statement.

“The decisions as to which domestic stores will be closing are ongoing, pending the outcome of continued conversations with landlords”.

The company said its Canadian subsidiary also filed for bankruptcy and it plans to wind down the business, closing 44 stores in the country.

The company also has plans to pull out from Asia and Europe with reports indicating that the 14 stores operated by the Retailer in Japan are due to close at the end of October this year.

The company however revealed that apart from maintaining its stay in the US market, it had intentions to continue operations in Mexico and Latin America.

To enable it stay afloat, the retailer said it received $275 million in financing from its existing lenders with JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. as agent, and $75 million in new capital from TPG Sixth Street Partners, and certain of its affiliated funds.

The funds will enable Forever 21 to continue to operate its website and hundreds of stores in the United States, where it is a major tenant for mall owners, as well as stores in Mexico and Latin America.

Forever 21 was founded in 1984 and at its peak, it operated 815 stores in 57 countries and employed about 43,000 people.

The fashion retailer expects the restructured company to bring in $2.5 billion in annual sales.