Gap to close all UK, Ireland shops as COVID-19 stifles offline sales
The GAP store on Oxford Street, London, UK, June 10, 2021. /CFP

The GAP store on Oxford Street, London, UK, June 10, 2021. /CFP

U.S. apparel company Gap will close its 81 stores in Britain and Ireland by September but remain online there, the retailer said Thursday.

The retailer is also in talks with its partners to sell its stores in Italy and France as it looks to limit its presence in Europe to online and save costs.

The company said it was proposing to close all company-operated Gap Specialty and Gap Outlet stores in the UK and Ireland in a phased manner from the end of August through the end of September.

The move comes as Gap competes with apparel brands like Zara and H&M for market share. Gap arrived in the UK in 1987 and in Ireland in 2006.

The coronavirus pandemic has compounded troubles by stifling sales at brick-and-mortar stores across the globe while giving a boost to online shopping. 

British online fashion retailer ASOS in February bought the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands from the administrators of Philip Green's collapsed Arcadia retail empire.

(With input from AFP and Reuters)

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