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Gap to close all UK and Ireland stores




He Retail sale of American clothing, owner of Old Navy and Banana Republic, said in a statement Thursday that the closures will affect stores managed by the company. He added that there were also plans to sell their outlets in France and Italy.

The withdrawal follows a strategic overhaul of its European business that began last year “with the aim of finding new and more profitable ways” to serve customers in the region, the company said.

Crack (GPS) announced a three-year plan in October to close hundreds of stores in North America, accounting for nearly a third of its retail footprint. Like rivals, the company has had to adapt to the shift to e-commerce accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has challenged brick retailers and contributed to the bankruptcy of established brands such as Brooks Brothers.

On Thursday, Gap blamed the “market dynamics” of its decision to close stores in the UK and Ireland, which it said will take place “progressively” by the end of September. He declined to comment on how many jobs would be affected.

“We are making reflective progress in the consultation process with our European team and will provide assistance and transitional assistance for our colleagues as we seek to finish the stores,” the company added.

He said he is in talks with a “potential partner” in Italy and in negotiations with Hermione People and Brands, the retail branch of real estate developer FIB Group, to take over Gap stores in France.

Gap opened in London in 1987, marking its first expansion outside the United States. It has been present in Ireland since 2006.

“Gap was decades ahead in offering the leisure styles that have become so popular during the pandemic,” said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and market analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

But the brand has struggled to compete with a growing number of rivals in the “informal space,” particularly given the “footprint” in malls and main streets where many of its stores are located, he added Thursday in a research note.

The physical departure of the brand will be a new blow to the main British streets, which are already moving closing of Debenhams, the largest department store chain in the country.