RETAILER GAP has announced it will be closing its stores in Reading and Windsor by the end of 2021.

The fashion store announced it will be closing all of its 81 stores in UK and Ireland and 19 stores are already scheduled to close in July due to their leases expiring.

There are two Gap stores in Berkshire including one in Reading's Broad Street Mall and in Peascod Street, Windsor.

The fashion retailer said the move was part of a new focus on its online operation instead.

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The company said it intends to take business online “in a phased manner” from the end of August through to the end of September this year

Reading Chronicle:

It added it would provide “support and transition assistance” to colleagues following the closures, though did not specify how many employees had been affected

Gap has been active in the UK since 1987 and has had stores in the Republic of Ireland since 2006

The announcement comes following a strategic review aimed at “finding new, more cost-effective ways to maintain a presence and serve customers in Europe”.

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In a statement, Gap said: “In the United Kingdom and Europe, we are going to maintain our Gap online business.

“The e-commerce business continues to grow and we want to meet our customers where they are shopping.”