330 jobs to go at Comet head office

 

More than 300 staff have been made redundant at stricken electricals retail chain Comet.

Administrator Deloitte announced 330 job losses across Comet's head office and support centres, but stressed there had been no redundancies among shop staff and all Comet's 236 stores remain open.

The bulk of the staff cuts have been made in Comet's head office in Rickmansworth, Herts, as well as its site in Hull and call centre in Clevedon, Somerset.

Deloitte added that it was holding talks with a number of potential buyers for Comet, which collapsed into administration a week ago.

Neville Kahn, joint administrator of Comet, said: "We are in discussions with a number of parties who have expressed interest in parts of the business and we continue to work hard to preserve jobs."

Deloitte added it was seeing record levels of trade after launching a sale across Comet stores yesterday.

They had suspended gift cards from being used in stores last weekend, but this was lifted earlier this week for vouchers purchased and paid for in full by members of the public.

However, Deloitte has maintained the temporary suspension on gift cards which have been issued to people on behalf of a corporate customer.

The collapse of Comet marks one of the biggest high street casualties since the demise of Woolworths in 2008 and came a month after the failure of JJB Sports.

The group was hit by weak high street trading conditions, competition from online rivals and being unable to secure the trade credit insurance needed to safeguard suppliers.

In particular, it was knocked by the lack of first-time home buyers, which had been key customers for Comet, according to Deloitte.

The high street electricals market in the UK has come under huge pressure as cash-strapped shoppers put off purchases of big-ticket items such as TVs and large appliances and online rivals take a bigger slice of the sector.

Comet's administration comes just months after it was taken over by investment firm OpCapita, which bought the chain for a nominal £2 in February.

PA

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