Bridport’s Business Chamber has offered its support to businesses and staff whose jobs could be at risk after three high street chains with branches in the town announced job losses.

Hays Travel, WH Smith and M&Co – which all have branches in East Street - have announced cuts this week.

Hays Travel has revealed plans to cut up to 878 jobs out of a total workforce of 4,500 people, whilst fashion chain M&Co will be axing 380 jobs nationally. WH Smith said its restructuring plans will see 1,500 jobs go across the business.

Although the Bridport branch of Hays Travel could not comment on the announcement, manager Natalie Mirams said: “We have been doing well and the customers have been positive.”

Rob Muhl, president of Bridport Business Chamber, said: “We would be sorry to lose any business from our town and we feel for any local people who face losing their job.

“Bridport has a wonderful array and variety of businesses of all kinds and these are tough times for many of us.

“The Business Chamber is here to provide as much support and advice as we can in these difficult times. We don’t want anyone to feel they’re having to cope all alone.”

M&Co will be closing 47 outlets as part of the major restructuring plan which it said will secure the company’s long-term future.

The chain will continue to operate with 218 stores and 2,200 employees after completing a restructuring, having hired Deloitte as administrators in April.

CEO, Andy McGeoch, said: “We reopened most stores in June and have been exploring every possible option, but it was obvious that the business, as previously structured, would remain under sever pressure from the ongoig challenges of Covid-19.”

WH Smith said revenues were down 57% in July compared with the same month last year, after its travel arm was particularly badly hit by the pandemic.

It now expects to make a loss of between £70 million and £75 million for the year to August.

Businesses in Bridport are being encouraged to email if they need support, even if they are not members of the town’s Business Chamber.