M&Co’s long-established stores in Saltcoats and Irvine are two of more than 200 of the company’s UK outlets to be saved following a financial restructuring exercise which has preserved over 2,200 jobs.

The company, which has had a presence in Irvine for over 30 years and 40 years in Saltcoats, appointed administrators in April as the coronavirus outbreak forced the closure of most UK retailers for almost four months.

M&Co’s chief executive Andy McGeoch said: “It quickly became clear that 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.

“Covid has been by far the biggest challenge our family business has faced in almost 60 years, and I am really pleased that we have been able to maintain a presence in over 200 communities.

“Covid-19 means many people don’t feel comfortable travelling on public transport or visiting busy city centres and that can be good news for local High Street stores like M&Co.

“That is why we are looking at ways of working in partnership with other local retailers to highlight the tremendous range of shopping that can be found in communities like this all over the country.”

In a recent Sunday Times survey, M&Co was voted 14th Best Large Company to work for in the UK. It was founded in 1961 and has expanded from its Scottish roots to towns throughout the UK.

Andy added: “More and more people are beginning to realise that, if they don’t support their town centres, everyone’s quality of living really takes a hit, so we are proud to be playing a part in the drive to shop locally.

“It’s hugely encouraging to hear our customers say how much they have missed us after months away.”

The administration process, which is being managed by Deloitte, will see the estate reduced from 265 to 218 stores, with around 380 redundancies from a total workforce of over 2,600.