Gap posts return to sales growth amid rumours of UK downsizing


High street retailer Gap has posted a return to sales growth thanks to a positive Christmas trading season, but reports have emerged that some UK-based merchandising team members could lose their jobs.

Net sales for the four week period ended January 28 increased two per cent to $828 million (£668.33 million) compared with net sales of $813 million (£656.30 million) for the same period the previous year. 

In addition, for the fourth quarter net sales increased one per cent to £4.43 billion (£3.57 billion) compared to the $4.39 billion (£3.54 billion) recorded in the fourth quarter last year.

However, according to Drapers the US-based fashion chain has plased its entire UK-based merchandising team into consultation as it continued to centralise its global operations.

Drapers said the changes could affect all roles within Gap’s UK team – from allocators and assistant merchandisers to merchandising directors – with some members to be given the option to relocate to the New York office amid speculation London jobs would not be available from July onwards.

READ MORE: Gap announces further losses as Banana Republic winds down trading

Gap has been moving and centralising its international workforce to New York in recent years, and some of its UK-based buying and merchandising roles were relocated in July 2015.

More recently in last October, struggling financial results prompted Gap-owned retailer Banana Republic to confirm it would close all eight of its UK stores by the end of its financial year – although the UK Banana Republic website will remain active.

Gap had 118 directly-operated stores in the UK in the third quarter of its current financial year, down from 123 in the first quarter. 

“Against a challenging retail backdrop, we’re pleased to report growth in our top-line and comp sales during the critical holiday quarter,” Cap chief executive Art Peck said.

“We remain focused on actions that will strengthen our brands and recapture market share.”

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