Fashion chain Gap set to axe 19 UK and Ireland stores

Gap has said it plans to close 19 stores in the UK and Ireland next month as part of a shake-up aimed to return the brand to growth.

The US-based retailer said it is proposing to close the shops when their leases end in July.

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Gap has also not disclosed which of its stores will be affected by the move.

It said the decision will leave it with around 50 other standalone and outlet stores, although the group said it is continuing to assess its current portfolio as part of a strategic review it started last year.

In October last year, Gap said it could potentially close all its UK, Ireland, France and Italy stores as part of the review as its responds to a slump in trading.

The company said on Wednesday that it is “keen to maintain a presence in Europe” but this could include greater focus on its online sales.

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A spokeswoman for the company said: “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.”

It comes after a raft of major fashion retail rivals, including Debenhams and Topshop, shut stores after tumbling into administration following the impact of the pandemic.

Gap was among non-essential retailers to reopen their UK stores from April 12.

Additional reporting by PA.