Case Study | Gap to close stores by end of 2021

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A Gap store

The clothing brand Gap was prominent for its hoodies and sweatshirts, and when it first opened on the streets of the UK, it was a massive hit. However, in the past few years, it has lost its relevance, embracing a plethora of discounts to capture the general mass.

That brought Gap to a feeble stand in the market, especially with the hardship of the pandemic. The American clothing brand has now announced its closure of all 81 high street stores in the UK and Ireland by the end of 2021. They are planning to transition to an online platform after being devastated by the pandemic like other brands.

The company has not revealed how many employees will be affected post-closure, but will initiate a consultation process with them. The brand confirmed that they will not be exiting the UK market but rather operate their business via the e-commerce platform in the UK and Ireland.

The company also added that in the UK and Europe entirely, they are going to remain in the online platform. During the pandemic, the online business has witnessed an inclination of revenue, and Gap wants to meet their customers where they are shopping.

They also mentioned that, due to the market variations in the UK and Ireland, they proposed to shut all company-operated Gap stores in the UK and Ireland in a phased manner by the end of 2021.

A spokesperson of Gap confirmed the above statement that the decision was taken based on a strategic review of its European business and also because of uninvited hardships by national lockdowns in combat to Covid. And due to that, Gap is looking forward to unloading its stores in France and Italy since it is in negotiations to sell them.

Kate Hardcastle, a retail expert, and consumer said that the shutdown of Gap is due to the inability to keep up with the competition or to be as inexpensive as the competition. She says that more than just products on offer, they need to have a purpose, and that does not feel like the company has embraced the new customer.

The move to shut down came from witnessing the latest blow to the UK High Streets and hence the fall of the Debenhams and Arcadia retail kings during the pandemic.

The Debenhams will continue after being acquired by retailer Boohoo for £55m in January. Because of this move, Gap has encountered tough online competition from Boohoo, which seems to be continuing in the coming years.

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