The US-headquartered clothing firm in October said it was starting a strategic review of options for its Gap business in Europe, with one option being to possibly close sites it directly operates in the UK, Ireland, France and Italy.
Today a company spokesman said: “We are proposing to close 19 Gap stores that have leases ending at the end of July 2021. These leases are not being extended due to the strategic review that we have underway.”
The retailer did not give details on the locations of the branches, or how many staff could be impacted, but it marks another blow for UK high streets.
It would have around 50 shops in the regions after the proposed cull. The firm would also still have its online offering here.
Chains that have disappeared from shopping malls and town centres this year include Debenhams and Topshop. Bricks and mortar retail has been hurt by lockdowns at various points throughout the pandemic.
There were around 14,809 UK permanent retail store closures between March 2020 and February 2021, according to figures from Centre for Retail Research. That was deeper than 14,436 in the prior year.
Gap is aiming to secure store partnership deals for each European country it operates in, according to fashion business magazine Drapers, which first reported the latest closures. That may include franchise deals.
The company spokesman said: “We are keen to maintain a presence in Europe. While we continue to look at different operating models for our UK and ROI business, customers may continue shopping Gap online or at one of our other 50 plus Gap stores.”