Sears to house XXI Forever

COSTA MESA – Sears Holdings and clothing retailer Forever 21 announced a lease agreement this month to create "a store within a store" at South Coast Plaza.

The agreement will allow Los Angeles-based Forever 21 to lease out two levels of floor space, about 43,000 square feet, inside of the Sears. The new store is slated to open in the spring.

"Sears Holdings is very excited to welcome Forever 21 to our property at South Coast Plaza," Alan Shaw, vice president of leasing and development for Sears Holdings, said in a news release. "Forever 21 is a world-class retailer and will provide energy and excitement … benefiting all the retailers in the shopping center, including Sears."

Forever 21 will bring in XXI Forever, its larger concept store, into the northwest quadrant of South Coast Plaza, according to the press release.

The store will have its own entrance facing Bristol Street and a second entrance inside Sears on the lower level.

Forever 21's approach in offering the latest fashion trends at low prices has been known to draw in younger shoppers; however, the youth market was not the driving force behind the lease agreement, said Kimberly Freely, spokeswoman for Sears Holdings.

"We looked for businesses that have synergy which the type of products that Sears offers," Freely said. "Sears remains competitive in junior apparel."

Jeff Stollenwerck, president of real estate for Hoffman, Ill.-based Sears Holdings, said the agreement was made with the shareholders in mind.

"This agreement is a great example of Sears Holdings selectively redeploying its asset base to improve the retail experience for consumers while working to create long-term shareholder value," Stollenwerck said.

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