Gap has confirmed it will close all its Banana Republic stores in the UK, but will continue to trade the business online.
Retail Week first revealed that the US fashion giant was on the brink of pulling out of the UK.
Banana Republic, which has struggled of late, including in Europe, may start to exit its eight UK stores in as little as 12 weeks’ time, sources told Retail Week.
The retailer has branches in locations including Regent Street and Covent Garden in London, and Bath.
Some prime Banana Republic locations, such as its Canary Wharf branch, could eventually be split and divided between two retailers, sources close to the situation added.
It is thought that staff are being informed today of the store plans. Retail Week understands that Banana Republic is working with employees to support them through redeployment opportunities, potentially within the company’s other brands.
Banana Republic will continue to serve UK customers through its website.
Gap said at the time the closures would be “primarily” in its international markets but did not disclose where.
Last month, the retailer reported that Banana Republic’s global like-for-likes fell 9% year on year during September.
Gap chief executive Art Peck has previously admitted some problems on basics such as fit, saying that the average woman could not fit her arm through the sleeves of Banana Republic blazers.
Banana Republic, originally established in 1978 in California, was acquired by Gap in 1983 and specialises in “contemporary classics”.
It made its UK debut in 2008 on Regent Street and two years later Gap’s then European chief, Stephen Sunnucks, said the central London store was “already one of the top three performing Banana Republic stores in the world.”
A Gap spokeswoman said: “After a thorough evaluation process, the company has decided to close eight Banana Republic stores in the United Kingdom. The company anticipates that the majority of the stores will close by the end of fiscal year 2016 [January 2017].
“Banana Republic will continue to serve customers in the United Kingdom through www.bananarepublic.co.uk”
Banana Republic has over 650 company-operated stores in North America, Japan and Europe and more than 100 franchise-operated stores in over 20 countries globally. It also ships to customers in more than 90 countries worldwide through its website.