Gap to close 19 stores in Ireland and Britain next month

US fashion retailer plans to concentrate more on online sales in Europe

Shoppers browse through a Gap store in Shanghai, China. Photograph: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Shoppers browse through a Gap store in Shanghai, China. Photograph: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

 

US fashion retailer Gap plans to close 19 stores in Ireland and Britain next month in a bid to return the brand to a surer financial position after a slump in trading.

The company has not yet disclosed which of its stores or how many jobs will be affected by the move, but it indicated in October last year that it could potentially close all of its stores in the Republic of Ireland, the UK, France and Italy.

Confirmation of a plan to reduce its number of physical stores follows a review of its European business that concluded it should concentrate more on online sales in future.

In the Republic the chain has a concession in Arnotts in Dublin and a standalone store in Dundrum Town Centre, as well as outlet units in a retail park near Blanchardstown Centre in Dublin and in the Crescent shopping centre in Limerick.

It also has three units in the North: stores in Belfast and Antrim, and an outlet in Banbridge, Co Down.

“We are proposing to close 19 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland that have leases expiring at the end of July 2021. These leases are not being extended due to the strategic review that we have under way.”

The move will leave Gap with about 50 standalone or outlet stores in Britain and Ireland, it said.

The company, which was founded in 1969 in San Francisco, this week launched its new clothing collaboration with musician Kanye West in the US. It said on Wednesday that it was “keen to maintain a presence in Europe”, but that this would involve more of a focus on ecommerce. – Additional reporting: PA