The large distribution hub in Harlow in Essex has become the biggest Comet site so far to close, with 172 people losing jobs.Read the full story ›
Today administrators closed Comet’s distribution centre in Harlow, leaving 70 stores to stay open until Comet sells its remaining stock, with 118 more closures planned.
"I've been with the company over 20 years. To be told within 5 days that you've lost your job, it's like a kick in the teeth, it's like losing everything" said one former employee.
ITV News' Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports:
Comet's administrators said the 603 employees made redundant at its home delivery network were based at the following locations:
- Aylesbury: 59
- Chepstow: 51
- Coatbridge: 62
- Exeter: 33
- Gateshead: 45
- Harlow: 52
- Hedge End: 48
- Leeds: 41
- Maidstone: 64
- Nottingham: 43
- Skelmersdale: 66
- Wolverhampton: 39
Comet's administrator Deloitte has praised the stricken chain's employees for their "professionalism, loyalty and support" after announcing a further 735 redundancies.
Joint Administrator Chris Farrington said:
Discussions continue to take place with parties who have expressed interest in parts of the business.
However, it is unfortunately necessary to begin a store closure programme and to scale back the company’s support functions.
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.
Comet's administrator has warned "there will inevitably be redundancies" at some of the stricken electrical chain's stores.
Deloitte said although there had been no redundancies made at its stores so far, the 869 employees who work at 41 Comet stores set for closure were at risk if a buyer cannot be found.
The company said:
A closing down sale with increased discounts has begun in 27 stores and a further 14 stores may be identified for closure in the coming days unless a buyer can be found or new terms agreed with landlords in the meantime.
At the same time, more generous discounts will be applied to products across all Comet stores from tomorrow.
Deloitte said it is hoping to redeploy staff from any stores that close to others nearby.
Comet's administrator Deloitte said the further 735 redundancies at the electrical chain include 603 roles at its home delivery network.
Deloitte said in a statement, "Whilst the Administrators continue to search for a buyer for all or parts of the business, regrettably, it has been necessary to reduce the company’s back office and deliveries workforce".
The other 132 employees were made redundant from Comet’s head office and support functions.
This figure includes 57 redundancies at Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire; 17 employees in Hull; and 56 employees from the call centre in Clevedon.
The firm said the affected staff were told in meetings earlier today.
Deloitte had already announced 330 redundancies at the company but there have been no job losses among shop staff as yet and all the chain's 236 stores remain open at present.
The bulk of the staff cuts have been made in Comet's head office in Rickmansworth, Herts, as well as its site in Hull and call centre in Clevedon, Somerset.
The collapse of Comet marks one of the biggest high street casualties since the demise of Woolworths in 2008 and came a month after the failure of JJB Sports.
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.
Stricken electricals retail chain Comet will close 41 stores by the end of the month unless a buyer can be found, administrators confirmed today.
Redundancies were "inevitable" although administrators Deloitte said they would look to place staff from closing stores into other nearby outlets.
Up to 500 jobs could be under threat at 27 of the stores where closing down sales begun today. A further 14 closing down sales will begin early next week.
We are very grateful to the company's employees for their professionalism, loyalty and support at this difficult time and all employees will of course continue to be paid for all the work they do while the company is in administration.
The joint administrators of electrical retain chain Comet have today confirmed plans to close 41 Comet stores by the end of November, unless a buyer can be found for the business.
Closing down sales have begun at 27 stores across the country today and will begin in a further 14 stores early next week.
Administrators will look to redeploy staff from any stores which are closed.