Comet in crisis as stores cut prices
MORE than 20 jobs could be at risk at junction 27 after Comet was put into administration.
The electrical giant, which has 240 stores across the country, was put into administration on November 2 by private equity firm OpCapita, which owns the retail chain.
On Friday administrators Deloitte announced 330 redundancies from Comet’s head office and other departments including finance, marketing and its call centre.
A total of 99 redundancies were announced at its Rickmansworth site, in Hertfordshire, 53 at its Hull offices and 42 at the call centre in Clevedon, Somerset.
A Deloitte spokesman said no redundancies had been made in any Comet stores and that trading would continue as normal, including in the store in the Birstall retail park.
He added that no further redundancies were planned at this stage.
Neville Khan, joint administrator for Comet, said there had been interest in parts of the business from a number of parties and that the company was trying to preserve jobs.
He said: “All 236 Comet stores continue to trade as normal, and staff will continue to be paid for the work they do while Comet is trading in administration.
“We remain extremely grateful to the staff and management for their continued loyalty and support at what is clearly a very difficult time.”
Comet stores are now slashing prices as administrators attempt to liquidise unsold stock.
Mr Khan added that since the sale began, stores had seen record levels of sales and said the discounts would continue for several weeks.
The reduced prices are only available in-store as the website has ceased trading.
Meanwhile, Comet workers worried about potential redundancy were offered a lifeline last week from a rival retail company.
High-street electrical chain Dixons has offered Christmas jobs to Comet staff fearing redundancy.
Sebastien James, chief executive of Dixons Retail, said the firm had delayed its Christmas recruitment drive so that Comet staff could apply.
The electrical retail firm hires 3,000 additional staff across the UK for the busy Christmas and New Year period.
While 2,500 of the jobs will be in Currys and PC World stores, 600 will be based in Newark, Nottinghamshire, in Dixons’ delivery, installation and product repair hub.
A further 40 roles are being offered at Dixons’ Sheffield-based Knowhow customer service centre.
Part time and full time positions are available, with the chance that some could become permanent in the new year.
Should Comet fail to find new investment, it could become the latest junction 27 retail casualty.
This year has seen other well-known brands leave the Birstall shopping complex after going into administration.
Game ceased trading in March, while the Birstall branch of Clinton Cards was one of 122 UK stores that closed down in June.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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