Administrators prepare the ground for the first wave of redundancies among store staff
Closing down sales will start in around 30 Comet stores on Saturday as administrators prepare the ground for the first wave of redundancies among store staff.
Accountants at Deloitte have spent two weeks looking for a buyer for the electricals chain, whose collapse has put 6,600 jobs under threat. They have already cut 330 jobs across its Rickmansworth head office and support centres in Hull and Clevedon, and several hundred job losses are also thought to be imminent at its home delivery arm which spans 12 regional hubs.
The locations of the stores that are closing have not been released with staff due to be briefed either Friday night or first thing tomorrow. The initial tranche of store closures equates to more than 10% of embattled Comet’s 236 stores. Deloitte declined to comment. With no buyer expected to emerge for the whole business, Maplin, the privately-owned electricals group, is among the rivals chains expected to pick up some stores.
Comet’s failure came nine months after the company was taken over by investment firm OpCapita, which bought it for a nominal £2 in February. The retailer came with a £50m dowry from its stock exchange listed parent Kesa but the new venture struggled from day one with suppliers unable to secure credit insurance to protect them should it fail. Despite the collapse, OpCapita, which is run by former investment banker Henry Jackson, is still on course to make a multimillion pound profit from the deal.