Kesa bears burgeoning Comet losses

Kasmira Jefford
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WORSE-than-expected sales at Comet this Christmas will cost its owner Kesa £15m in writedowns as the electronics group nears completion of a deal to sell the troubled UK chain.

Europe’s second largest electricals retailer will complete the sale of Comet next month to private equity buyers OpCapita for a nominal £2 together with a cash dowry of €50m (£42.6m) to cover liabilities at its 245 Comet stores.

However Kesa said yesterday that the net debt threshold agreed at the time of the deal is now likely to be exceeded by £10m to £15m after weak sales during the festive period.

In its interim management statement for the quarter to 8 January, Kesa revealed that like-for-like sales at Comet fell by 14.5 per cent. Overall group revenues were down by 1.3 per cent.

Its flagship French chain Darty also took a hit with a 4.7 per cent drop in like-for-like revenue, however Kesa said the retailer had outperformed a weaker than expected market.