UK Gap store closures incoming

Retailer Gap set to axe 19 UK and Ireland storesGap was at the top of the fashion retail chain back in the 90s, but these days things are very different for the company and now it is currently in real danger.

The business is now set to close a quarter of its UK stores over the next month, which ultimately means many people are about to lose their jobs.

Redundancy is nothing new and has been common practise during the times of the global pandemic, but that doesn’t make it a pill that’s any easier to swallow for those that are about to lose their jobs.

19 stores in the UK and Ireland are set to close down over the next few weeks, and with it, the loss of many people’s jobs, some of which will have been long-term forms of employment.

Is this the end of the line for Gap in the UK? Well, in truth it could very well be the beginning of the end for the clothing firm, and there are multiple reasons behind that. Read on further to find out more about what has led Gap to being in this difficult position and what you can do if you’re looking for a new line of work or trying to avoid business insolvency yourself.

Reasons why Gap is closing its shops in the UK

One of the most iconic American brands, Gap, is pulling out of the UK market. After years of trying to appeal to British shoppers, Gap Inc. has announced that it will be shutting all of its stores in the UK. So what went wrong? There are a number of reasons why Gap failed to find success in the UK.

The brand was up against stiff competition from well-established British retailers such as Topshop and H&M. Gap’s pricing strategy was out of step with the UK market, where shoppers are used to paying less for clothes than their counterparts in the US.

Gap’s image was at odds with the prevailing fashion trends in the UK, where casual streetwear is more popular than formal wear. In light of these challenges, it is perhaps not surprising that Gap has decided to call time on its UK operations.

The reasons behind Gap’s failure 

The downfall of Gap is down to several poor decisions made by the company over recent years. For instance, during the time of the vast majority of people staying indoors and social distancing due to the global pandemic, Gap failed to offer a wider range of casual clothing items, such as jogging bottoms and hooded sweatshirts, even though that was what the consumer most desired around that time.

You see, for a business to be successful it must evolve and change when needed to; a company must move with the times in order to continue pleasing its audience.

The Guardian has recently reported that, “The UK closures are yet another blow for the ailing high street – more may follow as the company considers switching to a franchise model – although not a surprise, given European sales tumbled almost 40% in the year to January 2021. It recently shut one of its two high-profile stores on London’s Oxford Street. Other shops, in places such as Guildford and York, have also disappeared.

The news outlet continued, “Analysts have blamed the mega slump on its generic clothing and a failure to capitalise on the growing demand for its mainstay of casual wear – even in a year when almost everyone was wearing jogging bottoms and a hoodie. The brand has also been tarnished by its reliance on discounts to pull in shoppers”.

The Coronavirus pandemic could have actually been a chance for Gap to make some serious changes to its business model and take a step forward in the market. It should have focused more heavily online and provided people with the clothing items they were looking for during the national lockdown. However, the business ultimately failed to act in this way and left everything in a state of ‘too little too late’.

The people that will likely suffer the most through this period, is those that are set to lose their jobs: the current UK-based Gap employees. It is a very difficult time to be faced with a job loss in this current climate, but you should take confidence in the fact that there are still vacancies out there waiting to be filled.

Gap have stated that the plans to permanently close 19 of its shops in the UK is part of a rebranding scheme that it is hoping will lead to continued growth in the future, but the UK high street has seen similar tactics at play before; it doesn’t always work out the way business owners hope it will. We could absolutely see further Gap insolvency cases in the not-so-distant future.


Gap, the American clothing and accessories retailer, announced in 2021 that it will close its stores in the UK as part of a broader restructuring effort. The company has cited several reasons for the closures, including the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift in consumer shopping habits towards online purchasing.

The pandemic has forced many retailers to close their doors for extended periods of time, resulting in a significant loss of revenue. At the same time, consumers have been increasingly turning to online shopping as a safer alternative during the pandemic. This shift in consumer behavior has accelerated the trend of retailers closing their physical stores and focusing on online sales.

Additionally, GAP has also been facing intense competition from other retailers in the UK, including fast-fashion brands that can offer similar products at lower prices. The company also struggled to maintain its brand image and relevance in the UK market.

The closure of GAP stores in the UK also reflects the global trend of retailers struggling to adapt to the changing retail landscape. Many retailers have been forced to restructure their businesses in the face of the pandemic and evolving consumer preferences.

Read more: Retailer insolvencies are a growing concern

Steve Jones Profile
Insolvency & Restructuring Expert at Business Insolvency Helpline

With over three decades of experience in the business and turnaround sector, Steve Jones is one of the founders of Business Insolvency Helpline. With specialist knowledge of Insolvency, Liquidations, Administration, Pre-packs, CVA, MVL, Restructuring Advice and Company investment.