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180 Sussex jobs at risk if axe to fall on Comet
4:00pm Friday 2nd November 2012 in News
The axe is hanging over 180 Sussex jobs at high street giant Comet.
The electrical chain plans to go into administration next week, putting staff at its stores in Brighton, Hove, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor, Bexhill and Crawley in danger of being made redundant.
A spokesman for the chain said: “The board is urgently working with its advisers to seek a solution to secure a viable future for the company.”
Deloitte is expected to handle the administration of the stores which will remain open for business in the meantime.
Comet’s collapse is one of the biggest since the demise of Woolworths in 2008 and comes a month after the failure of JJB Sports. Other recent casualties have included Clinton Cards, Blacks Leisure, Game and Peacocks.
Comet said it would honour deliveries of items that have already been paid for. The firm has told shoppers to spend any gift cards or vouchers as soon as possible.
It has faced a cash crisis since trade insurers cut credit lines to suppliers, forcing them to ask for payment for goods upfront.
The retailer has been hard hit by the collapse in consumer spending caused by the financial crisis, and French company Kesa paid OpCapita £50 million to take the loss-making chain off its hands nine months ago. OpCapita paid a token £2 for the chain.
Jon Copestake, a retail analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said the national chain’s problems are unsurprising.
He said: “Not only has Comet faced deflationary pressures thanks to stiff competition and cheaper production costs, but core audio visual products are being undermined by combined platforms on smartphones and tablet computers.”
Comet’s former parent Kesa reported full-year operating losses for the chain of £16 million in its last set of financial results.
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