High street retail giant Gap has announced it will be closing all stores in the UK and Ireland by the end of 2021 to become a digital only business.
The company said it intends to take business online “in a phased manner” from the end of August through to the end of September this year.
It added it would provide “support and transition assistance” to colleagues following the closures, though did not specify how many employees had been affected.
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Nobody at the Lakeside Village GAP Outlet was available for comment today.
Di Rodgers, centre manager at Lakeside Village, said: “It is very sad news that GAP is shutting its UK and Ireland stores which means our GAP outlet here at Lakeside Village will be closing later this year.
“We will work closely with the team there to ensure they are aware of any other positions that are available throughout Lakeside’s other stores.
“We know our customers will also be disappointed to see this brand leave the centre but we are currently in discussions with a number of potential new stores and hope to be able to announce their arrival at Lakeside Village soon.”
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.
“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.”
It comes following a spate of high street closures this year, including brands such as Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton – part of the former Arcadia retail empire.
Debenhams closed its doors in Doncaster for the last time on May 12.
Cllr Glyn Jones, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing and Business, said:
“For many years shopping habits have been changing. More people are switching to buying what they need online. The Covid-19 pandemic has only increased this trend and certainly not helped our high streets and shopping areas.
“Like all other towns and cities, we have lost some household names such as Woolworths, BHS and Arcadia and it now appears that Gap will close its doors. This is sad news and our thoughts go out to the staff who face losing their jobs. It’s important to point out that Lakeside Village is still a very popular destination and they continue to attract interest from companies wishing to take units.
“Our town centres continue to struggle and are at a significant disadvantage to online retail. A town centre shop can be paying incredibly high business rates and often much more than an online based shop or warehouse. This needs to change. The government has to change the antiquated business rates system to level the playing field. We need to support our local shops and businesses and help bring new life back into our high streets.”