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Gap to close all UK, Ireland stores; online business changes


US clothing retailer Gap announced it will close all 81 of its stores in the UK and Ireland by the end of 2021

LONDON – In another blow to UK retail, US clothing giant Gap said it will close all its stores in the UK by the end of the year as it moves its business exclusively online.

The closure will be phased out by the end of September and includes the company’s outlets in Ireland. A total of 81 stores will be closed.

It is unclear how many jobs will be affected, but the company insisted it will provide “support and transition support” to its employees.

“The e-commerce business continues to grow and we want to meet our customers where they are shopping,” Gap said in a statement late Wednesday. He said his intention is to become a “digital first business”.

The retailer, which has been active in the UK since 1987 and in Ireland since 2006, epitomized the quintessential American “T-shirt-and-jeans” look that had been particularly popular for decades. Its hoodies and iconic denims adorned with the company’s name were arguably the signature look of the era. It was a breath of fresh air in no time.

But in recent years, Gap’s appeal has waned, being sidelined by e-commerce sites, which have softened its offerings rather than just basic.

It is also the latest casualty of the pandemic that has battered the UK economy. Long-suffering department store chain Debenhams and billionaire Philip Greene’s retail empire Arcadia Group have suffered two of the biggest casualties in recent months.

Susannah said, “The gap-size hole in the High Street, which will be left when the US retailer closes its last store in late September, will be difficult to fill, as brick-and-mortar stores have already been left behind.” Has gone.” Streeter, Senior Investment and Market Analyst at stockbrokers Hargreaves Lansdowne.

Last year, Britain experienced the world’s deepest recession after lockdown restrictions were imposed. While the easing of restrictions has seen the economy recover, questions remain over the future of the retail sector, as so much shopping has now gone online.

Not all retailers in the UK are suffering like Gap.

For example, rival Primark lauded “several new sales records” on Thursday, “reflecting an increase in both our customers’ willingness to spend and trust.” It said it continues to move forward with store openings and investments across the UK and Europe despite the impact of the lockdown.

And another rival, Sweden’s H&M, hit an even more upbeat tone, as it posted better-than-expected profits after a rebound in sales.

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