THE jobs of staff at two convenience stores in Helensburgh have been saved this week after a rescue deal was agreed with one of Britain's biggest supermarket chains.

The deal to transfer all of McColl's 1,160 stores and 16,000 staff across the UK to Morrisons was agreed on Monday after the convenience chain collapsed into administration at the end of last week.

McColl's has two stores in the Burgh – one in West Princes Street and one in Churchill Square – and the rescue deal strengthens the presence in the town of Morrisons, which owns the town's main supermarket, on Cardross Road.

Morrisons – who beat off a rival bid from EG Group for the chain after initially being rejected by lenders – had originally proposed to only save the “vast majority” of McColl's jobs and stores, but improved this offer during the bidding process.

In additions to its network of convenience stores around the UK, McColl's also ran around 270 stores under the Morrisons Daily brand.

The new deal also sees Morrisons take over the two McColl's pension schemes.

While the detailed implications of the rescue deal for the two McColl's stores in Helensburgh aren't yet fully known, Morrisons' chief executive, David Potts, hinted at a further expansion of the Morrisons Daily brand.

Mr Potts said: “Although we are disappointed that the business was put into administration, we believe this is a good outcome for McColl’s and all its stakeholders.

“This transaction offers stability and continuity for the McColl’s business and, in particular, a better outcome for its colleagues and pensioners.

“We all look forward to welcoming many new colleagues into the Morrisons business and to building on the proven strength of the Morrisons Daily format.”

Joanne McGuinness, national officer with the shop workers' union USDAW, said: “It is great news that Morrisons has been successful in their bid to buy McColl’s out of administration and it will be a huge relief for the staff.

"We are now seeking urgent discussions with Morrisons to help secure the future for the staff.

“McColl’s was a non-unionised business, which meant their staff had no real voice in the future of the business.

"Usdaw has a long-standing and productive relationship with Morrisons and we will be looking to extend trade union representation to all staff in McColl’s.”

Simon Underwood, business recovery partner at accountancy firm Menzies LLP, said: “Morrisons already has a wholesale supply agreement with McColl’s, so this may have aided negotiations with the administrators and helped to speed up decision-making on both sides.

“The speed of this deal will come as a great relief to employees, lenders and all creditors with a vested interest in the convenience store chain.”

Helensburgh’s MSP Jackie Baillie previously spoke of her fears for local jobs after it was announced in March that the chain was on the brink of administration.