CLOTHING retailer Gap has announced it will close all of its stores across the UK and Ireland in another blow to the high street.

In a move which will see 81 stores close, including its Brighton outlet, the company said it plans to move its business online in “a phased manner”.

Closures will take place from the end of August through to the end of September.

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

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.

“We’re becoming a digital first business and we’re looking for a partner to help drive our online business.”

The Argus: Gap has a store on Western Road in BrightonGap has a store on Western Road in Brighton

The company also confirmed it will provide support and transition assistance for staff as stores begin to shut their doors.

The news comes after several high street casualties, including Topshop and Debenhams, which have struggled following coronavirus restrictions and competition from online clothing brands.