Cable calls for Comet inquiry

The Business Department confirmed that Vince Cable has called an investigation into Comet in a bid to find out why the firm ended up going out of business and the circumstances around the purchase of the company by a private equity firm last year.

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'There are many architects of Comet's failure'

Rob Donaldson, head of private equity at Baker Tilly has said that there is no one party to blame for the collapse of Comet, saying;

Was it doomed to fail from the start? Given the challenges this business faced, was the turnaround plan realistic? Revenues at this business were in free fall, margins were under pressure, lease obligations were onerous, did the turnaround plan have any real chance of success?

There are many architects of this failure. Kesa, Landlords, Credit Insurers, Management, Investors, Consumers. This is the reality of what happened here...there is no one party to blame.

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Report: Bleak outlook for High Street in 2013

More shops could close next year, experts have warned Credit: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire

Experts are forecasting a bleak outlook for High Street shops in 2013 following the collapse of Comet, reports the Telegraph.

Last week, HMV warned there is “material uncertainty” about its own future.

Meanwhile, shoe chain Stead & Simpson has disclosed that it is to close 90 shops, and stationery retailer Staples has closed 23 shops.

History of Comet

  • Founded in Hull in 1933 by George Hollingbery as Comet Battery Stores Limited.
  • Originally sold charging batteries and accumulators, before moving into the radio rental business.
  • Grew to 2,500 accounts by 1939 and opened its first superstore in Hull in 1968.
  • Acquired by Kingfisher for £129 million in 1984 and increased to more than 250 stores nationwide by 1996.
  • Demerged from Kingfisher in 2003, forming a new group known as Kesa Electricals with its sister electrical companies throughout Europe.
  • Deloitte is appointed administrator in November 2012. The final group of 49 stores from the former 235-strong estate close down in December 2012.

The high street: A year of casualties

  • January: Clothing retailers Peacocks and Pumpkin Patch collapsed, placing 7,900 in jeopardy. Gift shop Past Times also appointed administrators, resulting in 507 redundancies. The collapse of La Senza triggered 1,300 redundancies and Barratts also called in administrators, cutting 680 jobs.
  • March: Game collapsed, triggering 2,104 job losses.
  • April: Aquascutum fell into administration but was sold in May, saving 100 jobs.
  • May: Clinton Cards fell into administration with 397 of its stores sold on.
  • June: Allders called in administrators Duff and Phelps.
  • July: Ethel Austin went into administration, risking around 500 jobs. Julian Graves called in administrators, risking more than 700 jobs.
  • October: Around 2,200 JJB Sports staff made redundant.
  • November: Comet calls in administrators.
  • December: Remaining Comet stores close down.

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Comet's website announces closures

Comet's last remaining stores will trade for the final time today as the high street spending slump claims another high-profile casualty.

Closing down: Comet's website Credit: Comet's

The closure of the final group of 49 stores from the former 235-strong estate comes seven weeks after Deloitte was appointed administrator.

The collapse of the firm, which employed around 6,895 people at the time of its collapse, is one of the biggest high street failures since the demise of Woolworths in 2008.

Government to meet £23.2m Comet staff payments bill

With insufficient funds raised from the winding down of electrical chain Comet, it will fall to the Government's Redundancy Payments Service to meet £23.2 million of outstanding redundancy pay, accrued holiday pay and pay in lieu of notice.

Comet's last remaining stores will trade for a final time on Tuesday Credit: Andrew Parsons/PA Archive

According to a new Deloitte report, the chain racked up losses of £95 million in the year to April, having seen revenues slump by £200 million on a year earlier.

This was followed by a further £31 million loss in the subsequent five months as credit insurers lost confidence and withdrew support for the business.

Remaining Comet stores to trade for final time

Electrical chain Comet's remaining stores will trade for the final time tomorrow.

The closure of the final group of 49 stores from the former 235-strong estate comes seven weeks after Deloitte was appointed administrator.

Comet store
The closure of Comet is the latest high-street casualty Credit: Press Association

Deloitte has so far failed to find a buyer for the company or any of its shops.

In a report published today, it said it remains in talks with a small number of parties including over the sale of internet operations and the brand.

The collapse of the firm, founded in Hull in 1933 and which employed around 6,895 people at the time of its collapse, is one of the biggest high street failures since the demise of Woolworths in 2008.

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