// Gap considers closing entire European store estate next year
// The company has more than 70 stores in the UK and four in Ireland
// Sales fell 18% in the three months to the end of August
Gap is mulling the closure of its entire European store estate next year, placing hundreds of jobs at risk.
The company, which has more than 70 stores in the UK and four in Ireland, said it wanted to operate in Europe through “partnerships”, both online and in stores.
Gap has 158 franchise stores in Europe, on top of the company-owned outlets. It is also seeking to close a distribution centre in Rugby next year.
“As we conduct the review, we will look at transferring elements of the business to interested third parties as part of a proposed partnership model expansion,” Gap head of global operations Mark Breitbard said.
The latest closures come after Gap’s parent group closed all its Banana Republic stores in the UK two years ago.
Gap’s parent group said it would close more than 200 of its main brand and Banana Republic stores globally this year.
Sales fell 18 per cent in the three months to the end of August when the company, which also owns Old Navy, made a pre-tax loss of $41 million (£31 million).
Gap is trying to save cash while dealing with a sales slump brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite the impact of Covid-19 on store trading, online sales of Gap have surged since the start of the pandemic.