Gap to close all stores in latest blow to high street
Gap in Princes Street, Edinburgh
Fashion chain Gap has dealt another blow to beleaguered high streets by announcing the closure of all 81 of its stores in Britain and Ireland.
The US-owned chain will begin the shutdown in August and will focus its business around an online-only operation.
Gap blamed “market dynamics” and offered to assist staff affected.
A statement read: “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.
“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.
“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.”
Its last annual figures show Gap’s UK business made an operating loss of £40.7million on a 9.5% fall in sales to £195.1m.
At its height Gap was one of the most recognised brands in the world, promoted by big ticket celebrities such as Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker and Missy Elliott.
Gap now joins TopShop, Miss Selfridge, Debenhams and a number of other brands which have exited the high street in the past year as lockdown left town centres deserted.
It will leave another empty unit in Princes Street, Edinburgh which is also feeling pressure from the opening of the St James Quarter. Next and Zara have relocated to the new retail venue.