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Comet jobs in Skelmersdale axed by administrators

Up to 41 Comet stores may have to close. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

More than 700 jobs - including 66 in Skelmersdale - at electricals chain Comet have been axed in the latest round of redundancies by the company's administrator.

Deloitte said 603 jobs have been lost from the company's home delivery network, which operates from 12 hubs across the UK.

And it has made a further 57 employees redundant from Comet's head office at Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, as well as 56 from a call centre in Clevedon and 17 from an office in Hull. The sites were also the subject of 330 redundancies announced by the administrator last week.

There have been no job losses to date at Comet stores, but Deloitte warned on Saturday that up to 41 stores may have to close before the end of this month.

The delivery network will continue to operate, with a significantly reduced workforce retained to complete deliveries and support the repairs operation.

Deloitte joint administrator Chris Farrington said discussions continued with parties interested in parts of the business but that it was necessary to begin a store closure programme and to scale back the company's support functions.

He added: "While we will continue to do all we can to preserve jobs, we are working hard to put in place comprehensive support to help those employees who are made redundant during the administration."

Closing down sales are under way at the following 27 stores: Aylesbury, Barnstaple, Barrow-in-Furness, Beckton, Birmingham/Perry Bar, Brighton, Bury St Edmunds, Christchurch, Crawley, Falkirk, Glasgow - Great Western, Gloucester (St Oswalds), Guildford, Halifax, Harlow, Leeds Crown Point, Luton, Margate, New Malden, Orpington, Rugby, Selly Oak, Sheffield - Drake House, Southend, Wrexham, Yeading, Yeovil.

The group was hit by weak high street trading conditions, competition from online rivals and being unable to secure the trade credit insurance needed to safeguard suppliers.

In particular, it was knocked by the lack of first-time home buyers, which had been key customers for Comet, according to Deloitte.