Clothes shop M&Co to cut almost 400 jobs and close 47 stores - here’s why

Thursday, 6th August 2020, 3:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th August 2020, 3:31 pm
Renfrewshire-based clothes retailer M&Co is to close 47 stores as part of plans to restructure its business, with nearly 400 jobs to be lost (Photo: Shutterstock)

Renfrewshire-based clothes retailer M&Co is to close 47 stores as part of plans to restructure its business, with nearly 400 jobs to be lost.

The chain will see 215 stores remain open after the closures, and it’s hoped 2,600 jobs will be retained.

Why are stores closing?

The Scottish business, which has nearly 300 stores across the globe, said that it had faced a number of difficulties, which were made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, the business is now being restructured.

M&Co's chief executive, Andy McGeoch, explained that the company "would remain under severe pressure from the ongoing challenges of Covid-19", if it wasn’t to restructure.

M&Co entered into administration, with its assets immediately bought back by the family that built the company up.

Mr McGeoch said: "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.

"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."

Which stores are closing?

The company has said that the focus of the cuts will be town and suburbs in the UK, rather than city centre locations.

A total of 47 shops will close, with 215 stores remaining open.

According to administrators Deloitte's, this new deal means that around 2,600 jobs can be retained.

However, jobs have been lost in both Glasgow and London.

Mr McGeoch added that it was difficult to see “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,” he added.

Which other shops and restaurants are closing?

Pizza Express is facing the potential closure of 67 restaurants, which would mean the loss of 1,100 jobs, as the company also restructures its business.

The pizza chain has said the restructuring of the business would put it on a stronger financial footing in a post-lockdown environment, which sees restaurants, customers and staff adapting to social distancing measures.

A restructuring of the business has been in the pipeline for over a year, due to the company’s debts wiping away profits.

The chain, which is currently up for sale, blamed the potential store closures on the "significantly more challenging environment", which has been caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

WH Smith is also considering cutting 1,500 jobs - 11 per cent of its workforce - after lockdown caused sales to fall.

The company has said that the impact of the coronavirus crisis meant that it expected to report a loss of £70-75m for the year to the end of August.

Most of the jobs that will be lost will be at the company's travel sites, which are situated at train stations and airports.