Administrator works to save Comet stores

Kasmira Jefford
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COMET’s administrators will this week begin pulling down the shutters on some 40 stores as eleventh hour talks to save the stricken electricals giant’s remaining stores and brand continue.

Accountancy firm Deloitte, which was called in earlier this month, said it is still in talks with a couple of potential buyers who have expressed an interest in some of the stores.

The identity of the interested parties are not known but Maplin, Home Retail Group and B&M Stores are all said to have expressed an interest in converting some of Comet’s sites into their own stores.

A source close to the firm added there were still parties interested in buying the Comet brand, although prospects of the company’s survival are rapidly fading.

Comet’s collapse came just a month after British sporting goods retailer JJB Sports fell into administration with 2,200 staff made redundant and just 20 stores rescued through a deal with rival Sports Direct.

Deloitte announced on Friday that 41 of Comet’s 236 stores would be closed by the end of the month with “inevitable redundancies”, threatening up to 1,000 jobs.

The retailer, which employs 6,611 people overall, collapsed into administration less than a year after it was acquired by Henry Jackson’s private investment firm OpCapita for £2 from Darty, formerly known as Kesa Electricals.

The group, which was reportedly set to break-even this year, ran into trouble after suppliers tightened their terms as the firm attempted to reach its peak stock requirement in the run-up to Christmas.

More than 2,100 people have signed an online petition lodged by staff urging the government to examine the way OpCapita and its boss Jackson ran the company.