Fashion chain Gap to close 19 stores in UK and Ireland | Retail business
Fashion chain Gap will close 19 stores in the UK and Ireland as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on Main Street, while a distribution center in Rugby remains in jeopardy.
A spokesperson confirmed that the US-owned chain has decided not to renew store leases that expire next month, as part of a pullback that follows a strategic review of its European presence.
Gap did not provide any details on which stores will close or how many jobs will be lost as a result. But unlike the big names on Main Street who disappeared from Main Street for good during the pandemic – such as TopShop and Debenhams – Gap has said it will still have more than 50 stores in the UK and Ireland.
The move is the result of a strategic review of the San Francisco-based company’s European operations that began in October last year.
The company said at the time that it was considering closing stores in the UK, Ireland, France and Italy and that its European distribution center near Rugby was also under threat. Its future is still being studied as part of the company’s ongoing strategic review.
Gap, which also owns Banana Republic, has been forced to close stores around the world due to the pandemic, with a net of 204 stores closing their doors permanently in 2020.
He lost $ 665million (£ 471million) in the year to the end of January 2021, but has since seen his fortunes improve.
It posted a profit of $ 166 million in the three months to the end of May, on sales of $ 3.9 billion, higher than the revenue it reported in the same period of 2019 , the last comparable quarter before the pandemic.
The pandemic has claimed a series of well-known fashion chains, as the lockdown measures have led to deserted shopping streets and accelerated a trend of online shopping.
TopShop and Debenhams have both fallen victim to the coronavirus, as have Cath Kidston, Oasis and Warehouse.
In many cases, businesses were already in financial difficulty and could not survive the hard blow of a prolonged shutdown, even with government support.
Collectively, UK shopping streets lost more than 17,500 outlets in 2020 alone, with further damage likely to have been inflicted in 2021.
In April, a study by the Center for Retail Research found that nearly 190,000 jobs were lost in retail between the start of the pandemic and March 31, 2021.
The British Retail Consortium has warned that closures and job losses remain a significant risk despite the easing of restrictions.
The boss of the trade body, Helen Dickinson, warned Members of the Treasury Select Committee earlier this week that the impending July 1 expiration of a moratorium on landlords demanding rent arrears could cause further damage to the sector.