Thursday, 26 Nov 2020

Gap to close? Fears for retailer as it considers shutting UK stores

Gap to close? Fears for clothing retailer as it considers shutting all European stores including 70 in the UK

  • The retailer is considering winding down its high street presence across Europe 
  • Yesterday Mark Breitbard used an investor meeting to announce the shake-up
  • The firm has struggled recently and saw footfall slump during the pandemic 

Gap could shut all 70 of its UK stores as part of a radical company shake-up which threatens a wave of job losses.

The clothes brand is considering winding down its high street presence across Europe by the middle of next year.

Founded in 1967 and headquartered in the San Fransisco, the firm has struggled in recent years and like most retailers saw store footfall slump during the pandemic.  

Yesterday global head Mark Breitbard used an investor meeting to announce a major restructuring which will shift the business strategy away from owning stores.

He said: ‘One of the options being explored is the possible closure of our company-operated Gap stores in the United Kingdom, France, Ireland and Italy at the end of the second quarter in 2021.’

Gap could shut all 70 of its UK stores as part of a radical company shake-up which threatens a wave of job losses. The clothes brand is considering winding down its high street presence across Europe by the middle of next year (Paris store pictured)

Gap also said it will be closing 220 of its namesake Gap stores in US shopping malls – or one-third of its store base – by early 2024. 

That will result in 80 per cent of its remaining Gap stores being in off-mall locations.

As part of its restructuring, Gap Inc. said it also plans to close 130 of its Banana Republic stores in North America in three years. 

The moves come as Gap and other clothing retailers are trying to reinvent themselves during the pandemic, which forced many non-essential stores to temporarily close in the spring and early summer. 

Founded in 1967 and headquartered in the San Fransisco, the firm has struggled in recent years and like most retailers saw store footfall slump during the pandemic 

The lockdown of the economy led many shoppers to shift more of their spending to online, which many experts believe will be permanent.

Mr Breitbard added: ‘We’ve been overly reliant on low-productivity, high-rent stores. We’ve used the past six months to address the real estate issues and accelerate our shift to a true omni-model.’

But the company plans to add more of its thriving low-priced Old Navy and Athleta stores.  

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