American fashion chain Gap has reported a loss of almost £1billion since the start of the global coronavirus crisis.

The company said it lost £740million in the three months to May, compared with a profit of £203million in the same period last year.

Gap's chief executive Sonia Syngal said the business continued to see "material declines in May as a result of closures", but added that online demand was improving.

It comes as latest Visa figures show 89% of Brits have turned to online shopping since the start of the lockdown on March 23.

Retailers of non-essential goods, especially clothing, have been hit hard by restrictions aimed to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

In the UK, Oasis, Warehouse, Cath Kidston and Laura Ashley have permanently closed - while Debenhams has gone into administration twice.

Gap Inc. labels
High streets were forced into lockdown on March 23

Around the world, businesses have also reached a standstill, after retailers were told to limit their operations amid rising death tolls.

San Francisco-based Gap, which operates almost 2,800 stores in North America, said that more than half of its company-operated stores in the US have now reopened.

The firm, which was forced to permanently close 200 stores worldwide last year due to plunging sales, remains in talks over whether it will reopen with rivals on June 15.

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Gap, like many large retailers, such as Foot Locker, has not paid rent since March, after its stores were forced to close due to the pandemic.

Many of these chains who were given so-called rent holidays due to the pandemic are set to start paying up again as stores reopen in mid-June.

Like New Look and Pret a Manger, the chain could consider a model whereby its tenancy fees are measured against individual profits at each store.

Gap chief financial officer Katrina O'Connell said "We're just knee-deep in landlords today."

"It's very hard to say how long it will take, but I do know that one of our primary objectives is to use this opportunity to partner with our landlords to come up with a better profitability for the company."