Gap announces it will close all stores in UK and Ireland

30 June 2021, 22:09 | Updated: 1 July 2021, 12:00

Gap said it intends to take business online "in a phased manner"
Gap said it intends to take business online "in a phased manner". Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

High street retail giant Gap has announced it will close all 81 of its stores in the UK and Ireland.

The company said it intends to take business online "in a phased manner" from the end of August through to the end of September this year.

It has not said how many employees will be affected, but "support and transition assistance" will be provided following the closures.

READ MORE: Gap announces plans to close 19 stores in UK and Ireland

The retailer has been active in the UK since 1987 and has had stores in the Republic of Ireland since 2006.

The announcement 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: "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."

David Fox, co-head of Retail at Colliers, said: "Notwithstanding the best efforts of the Government, the ‘surgery’ that UK retail continues to undergo is brutal and that has been vividly illustrated throughout the property market which it supports.

“There’s consensus that UK retail property void levels are around 15% but if you also take into account the stores that are let on flexible agreements, post-CVA terms etc then the real void rate must be double that. So, we would estimate that around 1-in-3 shops in the UK are either vacant, not income-producing or occupied on very short-term arrangements.”