Gap to close 19 UK and Irish stores
Gap has confirmed that it’s to close 19 UK and Republic of Ireland stores this summer. It follows a bruising 15 months due to the pandemic and news backs in October that the US firm was launching a strategic review of options for its European Gap business.
One option on the table was the closure of directly-operated stores in a number of countries. And on Wednesday, it said the 19 closures it has planned are for shops where their leases finish at the end of July. It added: “These leases are not being extended due to the strategic review that we have under way.”
But it also said: “We believe in the power of [the] Gap brand internationally. We are keen to maintain a presence in Europe. While we continue to look at different operating models for our UK and ROI business, customers may continue shopping Gap online or at one of our other 50+ Gap stores.”
It didn’t share the location of the stores that will be affected, nor did it say how many jobs would be affected. And there was no hint of its long-term plans for the remaining 50 or so stores it will have in the affected regions after the cull.
But while the entire chain isn’t shutting for now, the 19 closures will add to the toll of shuttered shops on UK and Irish high streets and in malls in recent months.
Those closures have included big names such as Debenhams. Topshop, Burton, Oasis and Warehouse, among others. In fact, the Centre for Retail Research said 14,809 stores closed in the UK alone between March last year when lockdown began and February this year. That was after 14,436 in the previous 12 months.
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