Gap Inc. has verified plans to shut all 81 of its stores in the UK and Ireland with the approximate loss of more than 1,000 jobs. This includes 19 stores that were already slated to close in July as their leases were expiring.
GAP Inc. which is headquartered in California, was founded in 1969 by Donald Fisher and Doris Fisher, mostly famous for its hoodies and sweatshirts.
The company said they aspire to take the business online in a phased manner from the end of August through to the end of September this year.
The announcement comes following a strategic review intended for “finding unique and more cost-effective means to retain a presence and assist customers in Europe.” The company intends to go online-only in the markets affected.
In the light of the review, Gap is also hoping to sell off its stores in Italy and France, to be operated by different franchise operators.
The official statement from GAP reads, “We are not fleeing the UK market. We will proceed to run and operate our Gap e-commerce business in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. The e-commerce business continues to thrive 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 assist in running our online business.”
The high street retailer brand said, “We are thoughtfully moving through the consultation process with our European team, and we will provide support and transition aid for our colleagues as we move to wind down stores.”
The move comes as the latest blow to UK High Streets, hit hard by the pandemic enforced lockdowns.
Clothing retailer Marks & Spencer is also set to shut more stores after being hit by high street lockdowns. It has already closed or relocated 59 stores.
The Debenhams brand continues online after being purchased by retailer Boohoo for £55m in January.