Gap will close all of its physical stores in the UK and Ireland during September, retaining only an online presence in the two markets.
The closure equates to 81 specialty and outlet stores across the two countries and is a result of a strategic review of the US apparel company’s directly owned operations in Europe.
Gap has served UK customers since 1987 and launched in Ireland in 2006. In a statement the company said: “We are keen to maintain our presence in these markets.”
In other European markets, Gap is looking to sell its business to third-party partners. Negotiations are underway with unidentified potential partners in Italy, and in France with a subsidiary of the FIB Group, Hermione People and Brands.
”Franchise partnerships are a strong and cost-effective way to amplify the brand in international markets,” Gap’s statement read. “Through franchises, Gap brand reaches customers in 35 countries with more than 460 stores, 14 standalone e-commerce sites, and more than 160 multi-channel or pureplay e-commerce sites.”