Gap considering closing all UK stores in franchise-only move

Olivia Petter
·2 min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Gap is considering closing all of its UK stores as part of a wider strategic move to shift all of its European operations to franchise-only models.

In a statement shared on its website, the US retailer announced that it could close all of its shops in the UK, France, Ireland and Italy in the second quarter of 2021.

Currently, there are 129 Gap stores in Europe.

Mark Breitbard, head of Gap brand global, explained that the company is looking to "transform our business model through partnerships that grow and amplify our global reach”.

Mr Breitbard continued: "Today, we shared with our team that we are starting a strategic review of options for our Gap business in Europe.

“One of the options being explored is the possible closure of our company-operated Gap stores in the United Kingdom, France, Ireland and Italy at the end of the second quarter in 2021.”

In addition, Mr Breitbard revealed that Gap is currently reviewing its warehouse and distribution model and its e-commerce operations in Europe.

“A possible outcome is the closure of our EU distribution centre in Rugby,” he said.

Moving to a franchise-only model could be a “strong” and “cost-effective” way to “amplify the brand”, he explained.

"Through franchise, Gap brand reaches customers in 35 countries with more than 400 stores and 14 e-commerce sites.

“We are committed to sharing more as we thoughtfully work through this process. While the work is tough, we have our eyes set on leveraging our brand power to deliver Modern American Optimism to customers around the world.”

Mr Breitbard concluded his statement by addressing the thousands of workers whose jobs will be at risk if Gap does follow through with its plans to close all of its stores in the UK, France, Ireland and Italy.

“To the teams that support our European business, I want to thank you for your understanding as we go through this process and express my appreciation on behalf of the entire leadership team,” he said.

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