Home Business News Gap to close all UK stores by the end of the year

Gap to close all UK stores by the end of the year

by LLB Reporter
1st Jul 21 10:05 am

The high street retailer are to close all UK and Ireland stores by the end of the year and move the business online.

Gap will move the business online in a “phased manner” from the end of August through to September and will provide “support and transition assistance” to colleagues with the store closures.

This comes following a strategic review aimed at “finding new, more cost-effective ways to maintain a presence and serve customers in Europe.”

In a statement, Gap said, “In the United Kingdom and Europe, we are going to maintain our Gap online business.

“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.

“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.

“We are thoughtfully moving through the consultation process with our European team, and we will provide support and transition assistance for our colleagues as we look to wind down stores.

“We are thoughtfully moving through the consultation process with our European team, and we will provide support and transition assistance for our colleagues as we look to wind down stores.”

Simon Underwood, business recovery partner at accountancy firm, Menzies LLP, said, “Gap is the latest retail casualty of the pandemic and the decision to close stores in the UK and Ireland in the coming months will add to the growing number of job losses in the sector. With global sales down significantly last year, the US-owned retailer has reviewed its European operations and has been forced to take action to significantly reduce its bricks and mortar stores.

“Gap isn’t calling time on the UK marketplace altogether however. Its decision to continue its online operations in the UK and Ireland is further evidence of the shift in consumer shopping behaviour during the pandemic. The retail marketplace and shopping habits have been transformed by the pandemic and even if social distancing measures are removed later this month, many consumers will continue to gravitate online.

“With footfall and store sales down on pre-pandemic levels, many retailers are being forced to take stock and re-model their businesses for the future. By considering their options carefully, planning ahead and taking action at the right time, some high street retailers will transform successfully, but others may yet be forced to cut their losses and sell their brands to one of the fast-growing online platforms.”

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