FASHION retailer Gap has said it plans to shut 19 shops in the UK and Ireland at the end of next month.

The chain has an outlet store at Bournemouth’s Castlepoint.

Gap said it was proposing to close the 19 stores when their leases end in July.

It said the decision would leave it with around 50 other standalone and outlet stores, although the group said it was continuing to assess its portfolio as part of a strategic review it started last year.

Gap to close more than 200 stores amid worldwide restructuring

In October, Gap said it could potentially close all its UK, Ireland, France and Italy stores as part of the review as its responded to a slump in trading.

Castlepoint Shopping Centre: The making of a car park

Gap's restructuring is the latest move by fashion retailers dealing with competition from online stores, coupled with the high costs of running bricks and mortar sites and the impact of the pandemic.

The company said on Wednesday that it was “keen to maintain a presence in Europe” but this could include greater focus on its online sales.

A spokeswoman for the company said: “We are proposing to close 19 Gap stores in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland that have leases ending at the end of July 2021.

“These leases are not being extended due to the strategic review that we have under way.”