(update) Gap plans to leave Europe: the American clothing chain announces the possible closure of all its stores on the European continent. Nearly 120 stores are affected by the decision.
120 stores closed
Gap is reportedly pulling the plug on its European stores. That is what the American fashion brand announced today: at a virtual meeting, employees were told that they will lose their jobs in the course of next year. According to Le Monde, all stores will close by July 2021. The brand itself says that it is still reviewing a number of options for both the stores and e-commerce activities. It may be an option to transfer part of the business to franchise partners.
With the closure, the American label would lose some 3% of its group turnover. In 2019, Gap still had sales on this side of the Atlantic of 539 million dollar (454 million euros) out of a total of 13.3 billion dollar (11.2 billion euro). Gap currently has nearly 120 stores in Europe, spread across France, Italy and the United Kingdom.
Nevertheless, the news does not come as a complete surprise: drastic austerity measures were already implemented in all branches at the beginning of this year. In France, too, a radical restructuring had already taken place, with eight outlets being closed in 2019 and a further three in Paris at the beginning of 2020. Eight months ago, the monumental flagship store on the Champs-Elysées also closed.
In France, Gap now has 21 stores, in Italy there are 13 stores and the United Kingdom and Ireland have almost 80 stores. The exact details of the closures are expected to be discussed at an information meeting on Thursday 22 October. One of the options being explored is the possible closure of all company-operated Gap stores in the United Kingdom, France, Ireland and Italy at the end of the second quarter in 2021. The closure of the European warehouse in the United Kingdom is also under consideration.