Gap could close all its United Kingdom stores

Andrew Cummings
October 25, 2020

Gap announced earlier this week that it will close nearly all its physical stores in Europe, Fortune reported.

The American fashion chain has more than 70 branches in the United Kingdom and just under 130 elsewhere in Europe.

It is looking to shift its operations to a franchise-only model in Europe.

In a statement Mark Breitbard, Head of Gap Brand Global, said: "As we conduct the review, we will look at transferring elements of the business to interested third parties as part of a proposed partnership model expansion".

After the stores are closed in 2024 there will only be 870 Gap and Banana Republic stores in North America when the company had over 1,700 Gap and Banana Republic stores in North America about ten years ago. Sales fell almost 47% during the quarter to $72m.

Most of the affected stores, as announced by Gap are struggling stores.

The clothing retailer, which was a fixture for decades at the malls across the nation, said on Thursday that it'll be shutting 220 Gap stores by 2024.

But the company plans to add more of its thriving low-cost Old Navy and Athleta stores. It also wants 80pc of all stores to be outside traditional shopping centres by 2023, in a rethink of its store footprint. Increasing competition from online fast-fashion players such as Asos and Boohoo has added to its travails. "We almost doubled our e-commerce business, with approximately 50 percent online penetration, demonstrating our ability to pivot to a digitally-led culture". "A possible outcome is the closure of our European Union distribution center in Rugby".

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