Comet to Shut Down 41 Stores
By Jerin Mathew | November 18, 2012 4:51 PM EST
The administrators of electrical retailer Comet will close 41 stores by the end of November if they cannot find a buyer for the insolvent company.
Closing-down sales are under way in 27 stores and 14 more stores will clear stocks starting next week. The retailer operates 236 stores in all.
The remaining 195 outlets with reduced stock prices are expected to operate over the Christmas period. In an attempt to increase the retail chain's cash flow and save more than 6,000 jobs, administrator Deloitte earlier announced a countrywide fire-sale at Comet's brick and mortar stores. Online sales had been suspended after the company fell into administration.
The store closures will begin next week, according to an earlier Financial Times report.
"While the administrators will look to redeploy staff from any stores which do face closure to other stores nearby, there will inevitably be redundancies," Deloitte said.
The administrators had earlier cut 330 jobs at the failed retailer's headquarters and support centres. Nevertheless, jobs at distribution centres were unaffected.
They are in talks with parties, who are looking to buy parts of the business. An agreement relating to a group of 20 Comet shops could be complete soon, according to sources of The Telegraph. Maplin, Dixons Retail, Home Retail Group and B&M Stores are potential bidders for the stores.
Even if a deal is reached for a number of stores or the brand, about 150 Comet stores could be closed down, resulting in thousands of job losses, The Telegraph said.
Additionally, about 500 staff in the company's home delivery section could lose their jobs as Deloitte plans to wind down the section.
Hurt by weak high street trading conditions, Comet entered into administration earlier in November, marking one of the biggest high street casualties after the failure of Woolworths in 2008. The electrical retail chain was suffering from lower consumer spending on big-ticket items, competition from online rivals and lack of trade credit.
The collapse of the retail chain came less than a year after it was bought by OpCapita and its founder Henry Jackson for a nominal £2. Jackson reportedly received a £50m "dowry" for the deal from former parent Kesa.
Comet employees have filed an online petition asking to investigate the retailer's collapse and OpCapita's role in it.
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