28 Nov 2012

Comet to close 125 stores before Christmas

A further 125 Comet stores across the country are to close a week before Christmas leaving 5,000 jobs in doubt, unless a buyer is found for the company.

Comet to close 125 stores before Christmas

Comet’s administrators Deloitte have announced the planned closure stating that they will only keep the remaining 70 stores open until all stock is sold.

Deloitte have confirmed they are still in talks with a small number of interested buyers but believe it is necessary to begin shutting shops in the absence of a firm offer for the entire business.

There are also plans to close the company’s distribution centre in Harlow, Essex, this Friday and to cut back office functions in Rickmansworth, Hull and Clevedon.

The announcement has dashed hopes of a rescue deal after reports that Southampton-based entrepreneur Clive Coombes was considering making a bid for the beleaguered high-street chain.

The entrepreneur behind Appliances Online, John Roberts, has confirmed he tabled a seven-figure bid for Comet’s online operations. The deal would see the company disappear from the high-street.

The electrical retailer was placed in administration at the start of November after running into trouble due to trading without credit insurance to protect suppliers.

Comet administration: your rights Q and A

Suppliers tightened terms as the firm tried to reach its peak stock requirement for the Christmas shopping period. The company had a poor festive trading period last year with a 14.5 per cent drop in sales against 2010.

Comet was bought for a nominal £2 by the investment firm, OpCapita, earlier this year. The company was employing 6,500 staff in 240 stores but 1,500 jobs have already been axed.

Over 300 jobs have been cut at head office in recent weeks and a number of senior staff including chief operating officer Carl Cowling have left the company.

After the company was placed in administration gift vouchers have been suspended temporarily while the company assesses the situation.