Comet’s demise threatens 700 jobs in Scottish stores
About 700 jobs in Scotland are under threat after electricals retailer Comet said it will call in the administrators next week, marking one of the high street’s largest failures in recent years.
The 240-strong chain, which has 35 branches north of the Border, was bought for a nominal £2 in February by turnaround specialist OpCapita, which also received £50 million from previous owner Kesa.
Its 6,500 employees were told of the plans yesterday and Deloitte has been lined up to handle the administration.
The retailer said: “In the meantime the board is urgently working with its advisers to seek a solution to secure a viable future for the company.”
Comet’s collapse is one of the biggest since the demise of Woolworths in 2008 and comes a month after the failure of JJB Sports. Other recent casualties have included outdoor goods chain Blacks, Clinton Cards and video game retailer Game, which was bought by OpCapita in April after falling into administration the previous month.
It is understood that OpCapita and Comet chairman John Clare, the former chief executive of Dixons, had been unable to secure the trade credit insurance needed to safeguard suppliers.
Shares in Currys and PC World parent Dixons Retail soared 13.5 per cent following news of its rival’s planned administration. Seymour Pierce analyst Kate Calvert warned of potential disruption to its sales as administrators offload Comet’s stock at a discount, but added: “Dixons’ position in its core markets of the UK and the Nordics continues to strengthen.”
Comet began life in Hull in 1933 as a two-man business charging batteries for customers’ radios. It went public in 1970 and was acquired by Kingfisher for £129m in 1984. Following its demerger from Kingfisher in 2003, Comet became part of Kesa, now known as Darty.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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