U.S.-based fashion giant Gap has confirmed it plans to close all stores in the U.K. and Ireland and go online-only, according to the BBC.
Between the end of August and the end of September, the company plans to do phased closures of all 81 of its stores. Nineteen stores are already scheduled to close in July due to lease expirations.
The firm told the BBC it was “not exiting the U.K. market,” but will shift to an online-only model in the territory. In the future, Gap is also looking to offload its French and Italian stores through a deal with another firm. Gap says it is currently in discussions with a partner for the potential acquisition of the stores in Italy.
“We believe in Gap’s global brand power,” the spokesperson told the BBC. “We are executing against Gap’s Power Plan and partnering to amplify our global reach. We are not exiting the U.K. market. We will continue to run and operate our Gap e-commerce business in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland."