Comet in Lakeside Retail Park could go as company goes into administration
Date posted: 02-11-2012
AROUND 6,500 retail jobs including many at the store in Lakeside Retail Park are at risk after electrical chain Comet confirmed that it will be put into administration next week.
Private equity firm OpCapita, which owns the 240-store business, has lined up restructuring specialist Deloitte to act as administrator reports the BBC.
OpCapita bought Comet last year for just £2, but the business has struggled from the downturn in consumer spending.
Comet’s demise is one of the biggest High Street casualties of recent years.
Two weeks ago, OpCapita, said it was examining a number of potential bids for the retailer.
The administrator will run the business as a going concern while it assesses options for sales, closures and liquidation.
Comet said it was “urgently working” on plans to secure the company’s future. Customers with outstanding orders are being told it is “business as usual until further notice” and that the group intends to fulfil deliveries of products that have been paid for.
Comet’s customer care team is handling customer inquiries on 0844 8009595.
Shares of Comet’s rivals rose on news of the planned administration, with Dixons Retail, which owns PC World and Currys, jumping 15% as investors speculated that a major competitor could be removed from the market.
The economic downturn and pressure on consumer spending has led many people to put off purchases of big-ticket items such as TVs and large appliances. But sales of such items have also moved increasingly online.
Comet is one of the biggest retail casualties since the demise of Woolworths in 2008. Other recent High Street collapses have included JJB Sports, Clinton Cards, Blacks Leisure, Game, and Peacocks.
America’s Best Buy recently pulled the plug on 11 giant electrical stores after failing to make inroads into the UK market.
Comet was founded in 1933 as a business charging batteries for wireless sets. It opened its first store in 1968, in Hull, and was bought by Kingfisher in 1984, which expanded the Comet brand into one of the most familiar names on the High Street.