American retailer GAP has announced the closure of 81 stores across the UK by the end of this year. This is clearly an effect of the hard hit taken by the brand during the pandemic. With multiple competitor brands rising, the brand’s departure off the high street seems justified.
Known for its classic casuals and an affordable price tag, the retailer first entered the UK in 1987. It remained afloat through the years of sweatshop controversies and survived with the help of collaborations with designers such as Alexander Wang, Rodarte, and the most recent: Kanye West’s Yeezy.
Kanye’s design of the round blue jacket released from the Yeezy X GAP collaboration received a lot of mixed messages on social media platforms. This trial of adapting drop culture did not necessarily prove to be an advantage to the retailer.
However, the brand has put a lot of faith into bringing in Kanye to work alongside British design director Mowalola Ogunlesi. One of West’s moves, the shocking disappearance of all Instagram posts from GAP’s account, was planned to indicate the beginning of a new era.
For its love of the collaboration culture, the bags of the Black-owned brand Teflar never made it on GAP’s list of successful campaigns last year. The retail brand has also missed out on tapping into an important table-turning opportunity with the Normcore trend back in 2014. These consistent downfalls have led to a loss in the brand’s identity over the years.
GAP has justified this major move in the UK by stating that they will be using a digital-only model to continue their business in the country. The brand hopes to cope with the losses brought by the pandemic and attract younger consumers through this move. Only time will tell what is to become of this.