Troubled high streets have suffered another blow as US-based retailer Gap confirmed it will axe all of its 81 UK and Ireland stores.

This includes outlets in Lewisham, on the High Street, and Greenwich, in the O2.

GAP’s UK operations have struggled in recent years and seen the impact of pandemic closures deliver the fatal blow.

News Shopper:

Last year, the retail giant said it would review the future of its store business in the UK and Ireland.

Last month, it confirmed plans to shut 19 sites but has now said all 81 of its locations will shutter by the end of September.

The first 19 stores will close at the end of this month as their leases expire.

Gap has said it is now starting its consultation process for affected staff but would not confirm employee numbers.

It added it would provide “support and transition assistance” to colleagues following the closures.

The retailer has been active in the UK since 1987 and has had stores in the Republic of Ireland since 2006.

The announcement comes following a strategic review aimed at “finding new, more cost-effective ways to maintain a presence and serve customers in Europe”.

In a statement, Gap said: “In the United Kingdom and Europe, we are going to maintain our Gap online business.

“The e-commerce business continues to grow and we want to meet our customers where they are shopping.

“We’re becoming a digital-first business and we’re looking for a partner to help drive our online business.

“Due to market dynamics in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, we shared with our team today that we are proposing to close all company-operated Gap Specialty and Gap Outlet stores in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland in a phased manner from the end of August through the end of September 2021.

“We are thoughtfully moving through the consultation process with our European team, and we will provide support and transition assistance for our colleagues as we look to wind down stores.”