A SCOTLAND-BASED fashion chain has announced plans to axe almost 400 jobs as part of a major restructuring it claims will secure the company’s long-term future.

M&Co, which has its head office in Inchinnan in Renfrewshire, will close 47 of its stores across the UK, which will mean the loss of around 380 jobs.

The high street chain said it will continue to operate with 218 stores and 2200 employees after completing the restructuring, having hired Deloitte as administrators in April.

The retailer said it believes its 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 said: “We re-opened 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.

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“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.”

The company said the cuts will not affect its city centre stores, but will be focused on UK towns and suburbs, and the company’s headquarters in Scotland and London.

He said: “It’s not a decision we took lightly, after more than 50 years of trading, but it gives us 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.

“The most difficult part of this process is undoubtedly seeing around 380 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.”

M&Co – Scotland’s largest independent fashion retailer – started life as the Paisley-based J Mackay & Co pawnbroking business back in 1833.

It is the latest retailer to announce cuts, following major job losses at WHSmiths and Dixons Carphone.