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Gap Set to Close 19 Stores

Gap Inc. is planning to close 19 stores across the pond.

The San Francisco apparel giant came to the decision not to extended these European store leases, slated to expire in July, after a “strategic review,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

The company offered few details on which U.K. and Irish stores are slated for closure, though a Gap brand location in Belfast has already hung a store-closing sale sign. The retail company will “maintain a presence in Europe,” the spokeswoman said, pointing to Gap Inc. e-commerce channel, outlets and more than 50 remaining Gap-branded stores.

Gap first aired plans to tighten its belt in October, openly discussing strategies to run an “asset-light” European business. At the time, Mark Breitbard, global head of the Gap brand, said the strategic review for Europe looked at Gap-operated stores in Italy and France as well and didn’t rule out closing a British distribution center in Rugby. E-commerce distribution for Gap and Banana Republic also came under review.

Breitbard cited third-party players via franchise partnerships as a “strong and cost-effective” way to amplify the Gap brand.

In August, the company noted plans to close over 225 unprofitable Gap and Banana Republic doors last year, above the 115 initially slated to go dark.

Gap Inc. last month raised its 2021 guidance after hitting $4 billion in Q1 net sales. The company also unveiled a collaboration with Walmart for a line of exclusive Gap home products beginning on June 24.