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  1. ITV Report

Comet goes into administration

6,500 jobs are at risk Photo: Press Association

Around 6,500 retail jobs were under threat today as electricals chain Comet, which was founded in Hull, became the latest casualty on the high street.

The 240-strong chain confirmed plans for it to be placed into administration next week, marking one of the UK's biggest retail failures in recent years.

Staff were informed of plans this morning and restructuring specialist Deloitte has been lined up to handle the administration.

Comet was bought for a nominal £2 by investment firm OpCapita earlier this year but has been unable to secure the trade credit insurance needed to safeguard suppliers.

The move raises the prospect of a pre-Christmas rush for discounted stock as the administrator looks to wind down supplies and raise cash for creditors.

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 was founded in 1933 by George Hollingbery in Hull as Comet Battery Stores Limited - a two-man business charging batteries and accumulators for customer wireless sets. The company moved into the radio rental business and by 1939 had 2,500 accounts.

The first Comet superstore opened in Hull in 1968 and the company was listed two years later, before being acquired by Kingfisher for £129 million in 1984.

Comet then acquired Norweb Retail and increased its store portfolio to more than 250 nationwide in 1996. It demerged from Kingfisher in 2003, with Comet and its sister electrical companies throughout Europe forming a new group known as Kesa Electricals.