US-based clothing and accessory retailer Gap is reportedly planning to close 19 stores in the UK and Ireland next month.

The decision follows a strategic review of the company’s European presence, with the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to affect high-street retailers.

Gap said that it plans to focus more on online sales in the European market.

The retailer has not disclosed the store locations or the number of jobs to be affected by the closures.

In October, Gap said it was considering closing its company-operated stores in the UK, France, Ireland and Italy at the end of the second quarter of this year.

The fashion retailer, which operates Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta, plans to reduce its store footprint by around 350 stores by 2024.

The closures, if carried out, will leave the retailer with around 50 standalone or outlet stores in the UK and Ireland.

In a statement, Gap said: “We believe in the power of The Gap brand internationally. Through a strategic review begun last year, we are evaluating our operating model in Europe.

“We are keen to maintain a presence in Europe. While we continue to look at different operating models for our UK and Ireland business, customers can continue shopping at Gap online or at one of our other 50-plus Gap stores.”

Gap closed 204 stores permanently last year due to the pandemic, losing £471m ($665m) in the 12 months ending on 31 January.

Last month, the company signed a multi-year agreement with Walmart to launch a home goods brand, Gap Home, on Walmart’s website on 24 June.