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Gap to close all UK and Ireland stores

Written by: Emma Lunn
The US fashion retailer has confirmed it plans to close all its 81 shops in the UK and Ireland and go online-only.

Gap began a strategic review of the company-operated business in Europe last year as part of its ‘2023 Power Plan’. The plan aims to find new, more cost-effective ways to maintain a presence and serve customers in Europe.

A statement from Gap confirmed it will close all UK stores in a phased manner from the end of August through to the end of September 2021, and focus on online business.

The statement said: “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 in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, we shared with our team today that we are proposing to close all company-operated Gap Specialty and Gap Outlet stores in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland in a phased manner from the end of August through the end of September 2021.”

Gap also said it plans to sell off its stores in Italy and France, to be run by different franchise operators, as part of the review.

Gap hasn’t confirmed how many jobs will be at risk but said it was “thoughtfully moving through the consultation process” and will “provide support and transition assistance” for employees as shops close.

Gap has been operating in the UK since 1987 and the Republic of Ireland since 2006.

It is the latest fashion chain to exit the UK high street as shoppers turned to online shopping during lockdown. Brands such as Topshop and Debenhams have also gone online only, while M&S and John Lewis have reduced their store numbers.

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