Fashion retailer Gap has announced it will close 19 stores in the UK and Ireland by the end of next month.
The decision will be left with around 50 other standalone and outlet stores, though the group said it is still evaluating its portfolio as part of a strategic review begun last year.
It comes after a year of coronavirus lockdowns ravaging Britain’s main street and other popular chains, including TopShop, are going under.
In October, Gap said it could potentially close all stores in the UK, Ireland, France and Italy under the review as its bosses responded to a collapse in trade.
The company has refused to comment on how many jobs the closure will affect or which stores will be closed when addressed to MailOnline.
Gap will close 19 stores in the UK and Ireland by the end of next month (file image)
In February, reports showed US retailer Gap was at war with its landlords after vowing to close stores in July.
Gap said it would permanently close one of its two Oxford Street stores in London last December.
UK retailers struggled after the coronavirus lockdown forced them to close their stores and rely on income from purely online sales.
For the year beginning February 1, 2020, Gap’s UK retail sales fell 9.5 percent to £ 195.1 million. Operating losses were £ 40.7 million.
The company, which was founded in 1969 and is headquartered in San Francisco, has had problems in recent years and, like most retailers, experienced a decline in customer traffic during the pandemic (Parisian store in the picture).
But 19 stores are still down from the 70 that were suggested for closure in reports last year.
Founded in 1969 and headquartered in San Francisco, the company has struggled in recent years and, like most retailers, has seen customer footfall plummet during the pandemic.
Last October, global chief Mark Breitbard used an investor meeting to announce a major restructuring that would shift business strategy away from owning business.
He said: “One of the options under consideration is the possible closure of our company-owned Gap stores in the UK, France, Ireland and Italy by the end of the second quarter of 2021.”
Gap also said it will close 220 of its eponymous Gap stores in U.S. malls – or a third of its business base – by early 2024.
Doris and Donald Fisher, pictured in 2007, founded Gap in 1969 and soon saw their San Francisco clothing business grow worldwide. The company has gone through harder times since Mr Fisher passed away in 2009, as Forbes estimates the Fisher family lost $ 1 billion in the past year
Gap unveiled its first collaboration with the Yeezy brand from Kanye West on Tuesday for its 44th birthday, but it sold out within a few hours
That will result in 80 percent of the remaining Gap stores being located outside of malls.
At its peak, Gap was one of the most recognizable brands in the world, with stores in the US, Europe and Asia.
In advertising campaigns in the late 1990s and early 2000s, big names like Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker and Missy Elliott appeared in ads for the clothing giant.
Gap unveiled the first article in its highly anticipated collaboration with Kanye West on Tuesday. The San Francisco-based clothing retailer shared an eye-catching baby blue jacket with no zipper on the occasion of the rap superstar’s 44th birthday.
It comes just months after high street giant Debenhams confirmed that the last of its stores will close for the last time.
The department store started a fire sale after the lockdown before the chain closed its stores, marking the end of a 242-year presence in Britain’s cities.
According to the Bureau of National Statistics, the number of UK workers on the payroll has fallen by 56,000 last month and by 813,000 since March 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic
The unemployment rate fell slightly in the latest numbers, but the overall picture was still grim as the vacation program keeps the jobs with life support
It collapsed late last year, with the closure of all of its stores confirmed after Boohoo agreed to buy just its website and brand as part of a £ 55 million bailout.
It came the same week as Topshop owner Arcadia, with the two failures leaving around 23,000 people unemployed.
The appalling job loss was akin to the Woolworths collapse in 2008, which cost 25,000 jobs.
The precarious state of the labor market was highlighted last month with numbers showing a fall in unemployment – but the recovery in wages stagnated.
The unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent between December and February after 5 percent in the three months before. Economists had forecast an increase to 5.1 percent.
The gravity-defying performance during the brutal third lockdown is believed to be due to the massive vacation program – with around five million items backed by the government.
There were further glimmers of hope as companies prepared for restrictions to be relaxed.
However, as a warning sign that the crisis is far from over, the number of workers on UK payrolls fell by 56,000 in March after a three-month increase.
A total of 813,000 fewer employees were on the payroll than in March 2020 – and four-fifths of the decline was in the under-35s.