Comet set to rise again as a new store chain


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The Independent Online

A chain of electrical stores trading under the Comet name is to be launched in an attempt to fill the gap in the market left by the now-defunct retailer.

Despite not having bought the Comet brand from administrator Deloitte, Clive Coombes – who has taken legal advice about using the name – intends to open the first Meridian Comet store in the next two months in the South-west of England. The property tycoon has already formed ties with brands including Apple, Canon and Sony to replicate the former chain’s range.

The entrepreneur tried unsuccessfully to buy Comet after it collapsed into administration last November, following dire trading and a cashflow crisis. He believes he can scoop up the customers left behind by Comet with much smaller high street stores of 3,000 square feet. But he faces an uphill challenge in the low-margin electrical goods sector, which has been battered by internet trading. He plans to build Meridian Comet through private investment before floating it on the Alternative Investment Market, with target of opening 80 shops in two years.

He told Retail Week: “Comet left a big gap in the market. Dixons is the only significant player in that market and we have identified a niche we’re confident of making the most of.”