Comet forecast to leave high street by Xmas

Kasmira Jefford
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COMET’S administrators yesterday confirmed they are to close a further 125 stores and may shut the entire business by the end of the year unless a buyer can be found, in a devastating blow for the high street.

Deloitte said just 70 stores of the original 236 stores will continue to trade until all of the remaining electricals stock is sold.

Some 1,000 staff have already been made redundant and the jobs of the remaining 5,000 staff now hang in the balance, in what would be the biggest collapse on the high street since Woolworths in 2008.

Deloitte partner Chris Farrington said the group remained in talks with “a small number” of interested parties and will delay the store closures if “any acceptable offers” are made. “Unfortunately, in the absence of a firm offer for the whole of the business, it has become necessary to begin making plans in case a sale is not concluded. If a sale is not possible we would envisage stores to begin closing in December,” Farrington said.

Entrepreneur Clive Coombes, Dixons and TK Maxx have been in talks to buy some of stores while Appliances Online has tabled a bid for Comet’s website and brand.

In a statement last night, Comet owner OpCapita blamed a “combination of adverse factors, including the withdrawal of credit insurance and the consequent reluctance of suppliers to supply the business on normal terms,” for the failure of the business to continue trading.