High street retailer Gap to close all UK stores

High street retail giant Gap is to close all of its UK stores by the end of 2021.

Gap will take its business online in phases
Gap will take its business online in phases

The fashion firm, which has shops in York, Sheffield Castleford and Doncaster, will take its business online in phases from the end of August to the end of September this year.

It said it will provide support and transition assistance to colleagues following the closures, although it did not specify how many employees will be affected.

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The US retailer has been active in the UK since 1987.

There are a total of 81 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland, according to the Gap online store-finder.

The announcement follows 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: “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.

“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.”

It comes following a spate of high street closures this year, including Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton, which are part of the former Arcadia retail empire.

More than 200 shops across the brands were forced to close and over 2,000 jobs were axed in February.

Food and clothing retailer Marks & Spencer is also set to close more stores after being hit hard by high street lockdowns.

The retailer said in May it was targeting 30 more closures in the next phase of its long-term transformation plan.

It has already closed or relocated 59 stores but said it is accelerating changes to its portfolio of shops following the impact of the pandemic.