The last day of trading for Comet - yet that might not be the end of the story. Vince Cable has called an investigation into what went on.
The large distribution hub in Harlow in Essex has become the biggest Comet site so far to close, with 172 people losing jobs.
A many as 5,000 Comet staff could lose their jobs in the next few weeks as administrators announced another 125 shops will close.
Everything had to go, and everything has gone. But the saga of Comet's final decline is not yet at an end. What went wrong is now in the sights of senior politicians. ITV News Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg reports:
Comet owners OpCapita issued a statement on the failed retailer saying its plan to rescue the firm included measures to improve the profitability of the business.
– OpCapita statement on Comet
We will of course assist fully with any inquiry and welcome the opportunity to provide BIS with factual information relating to the circumstances which led to Comet entering administration.
Deloitte published yesterday its Initial Report to Creditors of Comet Group Ltd which already includes detailed information and commentary on the events leading up to the appointment of administrators.
In addition the report sets out the detail of the turnaround plan for Comet which included a series of measures designed to improve the profitability of the business.
The statement added that once administration is completed, Deloitte will issue a full public report to creditors.
Failed high street retailer Comet has set up a website for former Comet employees as well as those finishing work today.
The site, cometjobs.co.uk, offers a 'The Daily Jobs' email circular of vacancies, an employee help line, fact sheet and postings on the latest jobs with other retailers.
Vince Cable has denied that the action taken to save failed retailer Comet was too little too late. He said social and economic collapse have also been very significant.
But he has admitted that people would expect the government to investigate what happened after the private equity firm, OpCapita bought the company last year for one pound. The firm will reportedly walk away with up to £50 million.
He adds that there are allegations both significant and serious enough to warrant proper inquiry.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Manchester - Fort
- Oxford - Botley Road
- North Shields
- York / Clifton
See the full list of stores' closing down on the Comet website.