Gap has announced it will close 19 stores in the UK and Ireland this year after reporting losses of £740m in just three months. Gap did not say which stores would close or how many jobs would be affected.
The clothing chain becomes the latest retailer to permanently close sites during the coronavirus pandemic which has severely impacted sales. Peacocks, John Lewis and H&M are among a host of brands to have announced closures and job cuts, while Debenhams has disappeared from high streets altogether.
According to the Centre for Retail Research, there were 14,809 permanent retail store closures between March 2020 and February 2021.
Gap launched a review of its business last year after plunging to a loss during the pandemic. In October last year, the chain said it could potentially close all its UK, Ireland, France and Italy stores as part of the review.
It closed one of its two Oxford Street stores in December and will not renew leases on some stores that are due to expire on 31 July.
In a statement, Gap said: “We believe in the power of Gap brand internationally. Through a strategic review begun last fall, we are evaluating our operating model in Europe.
“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-plus Gap stores.”
A spokesperson added: “We are proposing to close 19 Gap stores in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland that have leases ending at the end of July 2021.
“These leases are not being extended due to the strategic review that we have under way.”