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High street receives another blow

  • 01/07/2021
  • Jane Bray

In yet another blow to the high street, Gap has confirmed it will be closing all 81 of its stores in the UK and Ireland by the end of this year.

In an article from the Retail Gazette, they state that Gap’s intentions are to take its business online “in a phased manner” from the end of August through to the end of September. Gap commented that as “…the e-commerce business continues to grow, we want to meet our customers where they are shopping.”

They added it would provide “support and transition assistance” to colleagues following the closures, though did not specify how many employees would be affected by the store closures.

Last month there was much speculation over the fact that Gap was planning to shut down 19 stores, but the latest announcement confirms that all stores will be affected.

The announcement also comes following a strategic review aimed at “finding new, more cost-effective ways to maintain a presence and serve customers in Europe”.

“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 UK and Republic of Ireland in a phased manner from the end of August through the end of September 2021.”

This news follows yet another spate of high street closures this year, including brands such as Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton – part of the former Arcadia Group retail empire, where more than 200 shops across the brands were forced to close.

Long-standing retailer Marks & Spencer is also set to close more stores after being hit hard by high street lockdowns. The retailer said in May it was targeting 30 more closures in the next phase of its long-term transformation plan.

It has already closed or relocated 59 stores but said it is accelerating changes to its portfolio of shops following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

And the latest news also shows that H&M plans to close around 350 stores and open 100 new stores, resulting in a net decrease of around 250 stores.

“Together with profitable online growth and continued store optimisation, this will contribute to long-term, profitable and sustainable growth for the H&M group.” Commented H&M chief executive Helena Helmersson.

Source: Retail Gazette