The retreat follows a strategic review of its European operations that began last year “with the aim of finding new, more profitable ways” of serving customers in the region, the company said.
On Thursday, Gap blamed “market dynamics” for its decision to close stores in the UK and Ireland, which it said will run on a “gradual basis” until the end of September. He declined to comment on the number of jobs that would be affected.
“We are moving thoughtfully through the consultation process with our European team, and will provide support and transition assistance to our colleagues as we seek to close our stores,” the company added.
He said he was in talks with a “potential partner” in Italy and in negotiations with Hermione People and Brands, the commercial arm of property developer FIB Group, to take over the Gap stores in France.
Gap opened in London in 1987, marking its first expansion outside of the United States. It has been present in Ireland since 2006.
“Gap was decades ahead of delivering the styles of sport that became so popular during the pandemic,” said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
But the brand has struggled to compete with a growing number of competitors in the “casual space”, especially given the “sluggish footfall” in shopping malls and on the main streets where many of its stores are based, she added in a research note on Thursday.