FOURTEEN jobs have been lost with the closure of two M&Co stores in Trowbridge and Royal Wootton Bassett after the company was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

Seven people are employed at each of the stores and are part of 380 job losses with the closure of 47 stores nationwide.

But 21 jobs have been saved at the company’s stores in Calne, Devizes and Warminster which will stay open.

M&Co’s long-established stores in the three towns are part 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.

M&Co appointed administrators in April as the coronavirus outbreak forced the closure of most UK retailers for almost four months.

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

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’s 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.

“Local economies rely to a huge degree on their town centres and we have seen too many High Streets hollowed out by successive shop closures.

"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.

“The response from our customers during lockdown was phenomenal. We had a steady stream of requests for updates via M&Co’s Facebook pages, with some customers even posting letters through the doors asking when we were reopening.

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

M&Co was founded in 1961 and has expanded from its Scottish roots to towns throughout the UK.