CLOTHES shoppers in Clitheroe will be relieved to find that the town’s M&Co branch on Castle Street is one of more than 200 nationwide to be saved following financial restructuring which has preserved over 2,200 jobs.

Other nearby branches to avoid closure include Garstang, Thornton and St Annes-on-Sea.

This comes after a tough time for the company which administrators were appointed in April after the coronavirus crisis caused retailers to close for nearly 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.”

Although lockdown has now eased in many areas, the continuing volatility of the situation means that trading is not quite back to normality.

Mr McGeogh said: “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. “

Though jobs and branches have been saved, it is not all good news for the firm with the administration process set to see stores reduced from 265 to 218, with around 380 redundancies from a total workforce of over 2,600.

In response, Mr McGeogh appealed for support from the community.

He said: “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.”