NEARLY 400 jobs are to be axed by Renfrewshire-based fashion chain M&Co. 

The company has announced it is to close 47 stores and make 380 staff redundant as part of a major restructuring that aims to secure its long-term future.

Workers at the firm's Inchinnan headquarters are among those affected.

The high street chain said it will continue to operate with 218 stores and 2,200 employees after completing the restructuring, having hired Deloitte as administrators in April.

Bosses believe a reduced network of stores, focused on local high streets, will strengthen its position, with the coronavirus outbreak "reducing appetites to travel longer distances on public transport."

Chief executive Andy McGeoch said the company took a "huge financial hit" after having to shut its stores in March due to the pandemic.

He added: "We reopened most stores in June and have been exploring every possible option but it was obvious that the business, as previously structured, would remain under severe pressure from the ongoing challenges of Covid-19.

"It quickly became clear the best way to save most jobs and most stores was to enter administration, with a new company acquiring the assets of the old business, and this process has now been finalised."

Mr McGeoch insisted making job cuts is not a decision the firm has taken lightly, after more than 50 years of trading, but said it will provide "a sustainable basis from which to rebuild, with the majority of our staff keeping their jobs and 218 stores in high streets across the country remaining open."

He added that the most difficult part of the process is seeing colleagues leaving the business.

"It's a terrible situation for them and I'm desperately sorry that we couldn't come up with a viable plan which would have saved all the jobs," said Mr McGeoch.

M&Co, which was founded in 1961, is the latest Renfrewshire firm to announce job cuts in recent months.

The redundancies at M&Co follow hot on the heels of a decision by engineering giant Rolls-Royce to axe 700 jobs at its Inchinnan plant.

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