Fashion retailer Gap is set to close its east London stores as the US chain moves its business online-only.

Gap has announced a phased closure of its 81 stores across the UK and Ireland from late August to the end of September.

The brand’s locations include the outlet in The Brewery, Romford and its Westfield Stratford City store.

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.”

Gap blamed “market dynamics” in the UK and Ireland as the reason for the proposal to close all its company-operated stores.

“We are thoughtfully moving through the consultation process with our European team, and we will provide support and transition assistance for our colleagues as we look to wind down stores,” the statement added.

Gap has been serving UK customers since 1987.