Gap to close all stores in UK and Ireland in online-only shift

US fashion retailer Gap has announced plans to close all its stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland “in a phased manner” from the end of August through the end of September 2021.

The decision comes following a strategic review the company launched last year to find “more cost-effective ways to maintain a presence and serve customers in Europe”.

As part of the review, Gap said it was in negotiations with Hermione People and Brands, the retail branch of FIB Group, to take over Gap stores in France.

Meanwhile in Italy, the company is in talks with an unnamed partner for the acquisition of its stores.

Gap shifts UK, Ireland businesses to only-only

“In the UK and Europe, we are going to maintain our Gap online business,” the US giant said in a statement.

“The e-commerce business continues to grow and we want to meet our customers where they are shopping. We’re becoming a digital-first business and we’re looking for a partner to help drive our online business.”

However, “due to market dynamics”, Gap said it has decided to close all company-operated Gap Specialty and Gap Outlet stores in the UK and Ireland.

The company didn’t say how many employees would be affected by the closures.

Gap has operated in the UK since 1987 and Ireland since 2006.

In 2020, the retailer said it was considering closing all of its 129 owned European stores as it shifted to a franchise-only model in the region.

The retailer said at the time it was also reviewing its European warehouse and distribution models and could close its European distribution centre in Rugby.

In the first quarter of 2021, sales at Gap topped pre-Covid levels, up 89 percent to 3.99 billion dollars compared to last year when the pandemic was in full swing. Compared to two years ago, net sales were up 7.8 percent.

The company swung to a net income of 166 million dollars compared to a loss of 932 million dollars a year earlier.


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