Comet reports losses of £8.1m

Electrical goods chain Comet piled on the misery for the UK retail sector today after crashing to first-half losses of £8.1 million.

Comet, which made a £10.6 million profit last year - said like-for-like sales also plunged 11.6 per cent in the six months to October 31 as the group's owner, Kesa Electricals, reported "extremely difficult" conditions.

Comet joins rival DSG International in the red after the owner of Currys and PC World posted first-half losses of almost £30 million two weeks ago.

Kesa, which halved its interim dividend, warned: "The economic climate across Europe is very weak and we do not expect to see any improvement for the remainder of this financial year."



Comet, like all sellers of "big-ticket" white goods and furniture, has been hit by a plunging housing market and shattered consumer confidence.

The chain, which has 252 stores, said "very aggressive" market conditions had dented margins.

Losses would have been worse without cost-saving measures including 300 job cuts from stores and its head office and the relocation of a regional distribution centre to Harlow, Essex. The company has around 8,500 full-time equivalent staff in the UK.

Kesa, which trades as Darty overseas, said conditions in France gradually worsened over the period but saw market share gains despite a 3.8 per cent fall in like-for-like sales.

Retailing profits were down almost 8 per cent at £40.1 million - but in euro terms fell more than 20 per cent.

Overall profits across the group dropped to £13 million from £45.1 million last year after an £8.7 million loss from Spanish consumer electronics retailer Menaje del Hogar. Spain's economy is also in dire straits after being hit with its own property collapse.

Analysts rushed to slash their forecasts following the gloomy update.

Pali International's Nick Bubb described the figures as "awful".

Shares fell more than 10 per cent as Seymour Pierce's Freddie George added: "Following these figures we will be downgrading our 2008/9 pre-tax profit forecasts from £130 million provisionally to the £85 million level."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border