Gap will sell stores in France and Italy to cut costs in Europe

A Gap Inc. retail store is shown in La Jolla, California, U.S., May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

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June 30 (Reuters) – Gap Inc. (GPS.N) is in talks with its partners to sell its stores in Italy and France, the US clothing chain said on Wednesday, as it seeks to limit its online presence in Europe and cut costs.

The retailer also plans to close all Gap Specialty and Gap Outlet stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland by the end of September. Shares of the company rose about 3% in afternoon trading.

The Old Navy brand owner said it was in talks with Hermione People and Brands, the retail arm of the FIB Group, to take over its stores in France, while an unnamed partner is in talks to buy its Italian stores.

The move comes as Gap competes with clothing brands like Zara and H&M for market share. The coronavirus pandemic has compounded the problems by stifling sales in physical stores around the world.

(This story has been reclassified to remove the superfluous comma in the title.)

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Reporting by Aditi Sebastian and Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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