Community and business leaders have welcomed the news that a Helensburgh shop and its staff have been saved.

The parent company of clothing store Wilkies, in West Clyde Street, announced last week that Wilkies Limited, with 11 stores in towns across Scotland, was going into administration.

But simultaneously it was announced that six of the 11 stores - including the one on West Clyde Street - had been sold on to a new company, Wilkies Trading Limited.

Along with Helensburgh, the stores in Largs, Castle Douglas, Peebles, Perth and Ballater will remain open. 

But the shops in Edinburgh, North Berwick, Hamilton, Falkirk and Kirkcaldy will cose in the coming months.

Wendy Hamilton, Helensburgh area representative for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "We are thrilled to hear that the Helensburgh branch of Wilkies has narrowly escaped closure.

"Wilkies has been an integral part of our community for many years. Its loss from a prominent site on the town’s seafront would have been sorely felt.

"We congratulate the new management team of Wilkies Trading Ltd on their achievement in ensuring the shop will continue to trade thus safeguarding the jobs of the current employees."

READ MORE: Wilkies saved from closure after administration

Vivien Dance, of the Helensburgh and Lomond Chamber of Commerce, added: "Fellow businesses were delighted to hear that the future of one of Helensburgh’s popular independent stores had been secured.

"I am sure residents and visitors alike welcome the opportunity to continue to support the store in its post covid/cost of living recovery.

"The town needs prestigious, well managed retail outlets such as Wilkies. None of us want to return to the feature of an empty shop - formerly Woolworths of course - that dominated that part of West Clyde Street before Wilkies selected our town as a site for one of their stores.

"We share in the relief of the good news that Wilkies will continue to be part of our community not only with their retail offering but with the support that they give to community projects such as Helensburgh’s Christmas lights.

"Business owners understand the pressures retailers are facing with the current economic challenges and we empathise with Karen [Forret, Wilkies managing director], her fellow directors and all the staff for what must have been a very difficult period and hope for a bright future for the Wilkies brand and what it brings to Helensburgh."

Administrators said Wilkies had faced challenging tradition conditions after the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Helensburgh's MSP, Jackie Baillie, said: “It is a huge relief that this store has been saved, securing jobs in the local area and keeping a high profile shop on the town’s main thoroughfare.

“During a cost of living crisis, it is imperative that everything is done to ensure that jobs are not being lost and I am thankful that swift action was taken in this case.

“The SNP Government however need to do more to support businesses, especially reforming the rates system so that retailers are able to trade. This will help retain retail and further develop our high streets.”

Alistair McAlinden, from administrator Interpath Advisory, said last week: “Wilkies is a familiar name to many, so we are pleased to have been able to conclude this deal which will see the brand continue to be a part of high streets within Scotland.

"We’re also pleased to have been able to safeguard 55 jobs as part of the transaction. We wish the new owners every success.”