Comet owner Kesa plunges into the red

KESA Electrical, the owner of Comet, yesterday said it had plunged to a &pound;81.8m full-year loss due to a slump in demand for electrical goods.<br /><br />The group, which owns a number of European electrical retailers including Darty in Frnace, boasted a pre-tax profit of &pound;128.8m a year ago.<br /><br />The losses were largely due to a write down of &pound;118.5m in the value of its Spanish business Menaje del Hogars, as well as the price of cost cutting.<br /><br />Kesa has already cut 300 jobs in the UK during the year. <br /><br />Kesa said it had taken steps to reduce costs, especially at Comet, where profits fell 76.5 per cent to &pound;10.1m.<br /><br />Chief executive Thierry Falque-Pierrotin said the group was bracing itself for a further four to five per cent fall in sales across the market during the year. Falque-Pierrotin said: &ldquo;We are not expecting a recovery in the market anytime soon.&rdquo;<br /><br />Earlier this month Kesa said it was in exclusive talks about selling its Swiss operations for SFr20m (&pound;114m).<br /><br />Thierry yesterday said the group would not be quitting any of its other operations: &ldquo;We are not under enough financial constraints to lead us to sacrifice growth.&rdquo; The group has a net cash position of &pound;75m for the year end.