US fashion retail chain Gap energetically denies insider information that it is planning to withdraw from the German market, where it presently operates 12 stores.
Anita Borzyszkowska, spokeswoman for Gap’s European operations stated that “a withdrawal was absolutely out of the question”. On the contrary, Gap said that it was “very proud of its European presence”.
At present, the San Francisco-based company has approx. 3,800 The Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic stores worldwide, but primarily in the US and Japan.
In Europe, Gap operates 176 stores, of which 126 are in the UK and 38 in France. Borzyskowska did admit that business in Europe had become “a great challenge, and that the company was currently working on creative solutions”. In 2000, Gap’s total turnover declined by 8 % to $ 13.6bn (EUR 15.2bn). The company has announced that it would streamline its continental business over the next 18 months.
According to the Gap spokeswoman, closures were taken into consideration, but would affect “only a small percentage of the European stores”. Possibly, locations with more than one Gap store could be subject to reductions or relocations, as in the case of Berlin or Paris. However, Gap was quoted as saying that it would pursue its interest in Europe. Business in the UK was reported to be performing exceptionally well. Details about the company’s restructuring plan were not immediately available.