SCOTTISH fashion retailer M&Co is closing 47 stores and cutting around 380 staff in a rescue deal that will save more than 2,200 jobs and 218 stores.

The firm’s owners, the McGeoch family, are buying back the business in a ‘pre-pack’ administration – a process designed to help companies be sold as ‘going concerns’ while reducing any potential negative impact on their continuity, value or reputation.

“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,” said chief executive Andy McGeoch.

“The most difficult part of this process is undoubtedly seeing around 380 colleagues in stores and at our Glasgow and London operations 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.”

The Covid-19 lockdown and forced closure of all the company’s stores had been a “huge financial hit” Mr McGeoch said.

“It quickly became clear that 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 business was set up in 1961 and is headquartered in Inchinnan, Renfrew.