Retailers on the UK's high streets have been facing tough times for years, and so it comes as no real surprise that Gap has announced it will be closing all stores across the country. The company will also shutter its locations in Ireland.
Even before the pandemic, brick-and-mortar companies across Britain were struggling due to stiff competition from online giants such as ASOS and Boohoo. Gap proved a big hit with customers when it initially opened in the late '80s, but there was a sense it lost some of its allure in recent years, eventually resorting to heavy discounting in a bid to keep pace. This ultimately proved an unsuccessful approach, meaning it's the latest big name to collapse after Covid-19. It joins a list that includes Debenhams and Sir Philip Green's Arcadia group (ASOS eventually bought out this business, which included names such as Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, and Burton).
Gap said it would close all its stores "in a phased manner" between the end of August and the end of September, but it would not reveal how many staff jobs would be lost. Like some of the other names outlined above, all business will be moved online, meaning there'll be no overnight queues for Kanye West's YZY + Gap when it eventually drops.
"In the United Kingdom and Europe, we are going to maintain our Gap online business," read a statement.
"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.
"However, 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."