Gap’s UK losses have widened amid falling sales as the US-headquartered retailer grapples with a punishing fashion market.

Pre-tax losses rose from £19.4m to £20.2m while like-for-likes in its core high street stores fell 7% in the year to January 28, 2017.

Total sales across the group dropped nearly 10% from £306.7m to £276.3m.

Gap’s outlet stores represented a lone bright spot, as like-for-likes climbed 8%.

The results represent more of the same for Gap, after it posted spiralling losses and a fall in like-for-likes last year.

The retailer partly attributed its latest weak results to the closure of 15 loss-making stores, including all eight of its Banana Republic shops.

Gap decided to call time on its Banana Republic operations in the UK following poor financial performance.

Documents filed at Companies House showed that like-for-likes at the fascia tumbled 20% during 2015/16 and 8% in 2016/17.

While Gap has struggled with changing consumer tastes and availability issues for several years now, its troubles have been made worse by an increasingly tough fashion market, which has hit the mid-market hardest.

Major players such as Next, which could once be counted on to outperform the market, have come a cropper recently, posting dismal results as consumers choose to spend on experience rather than product and political uncertainty affects confidence.

The decision last week by the Bank of England to raise interest rates could spell more trouble for fashion retailers as it may prompt consumers to rein in spending in the all-important golden quarter.