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UK: Future of Comet brand could be online-only

10:23 23 November 2012

A Comet store

A Comet store

THE entrepreneur behind Appliances Online has tabled a bid for Comet in a move that could see the failed electrical chain disappear from retail parks and high streets.

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John Roberts, who set up Appliances Online in 2000, confirmed he had put in a “seven-figure offer” for Comet’s website after it collapsed into administration earlier this month.

However, he said any deal would depend on whether he could rescue the Comet brand before too much damage was done through the administration process.

Administrator Deloitte is also understood to have received a bid for 140 of the 195 Comet stores, which could save more than 2,000 jobs.

Deloitte said it had been in discussions with a number of interested parties over different parts of the Comet business.

Some 1,500 posts at the collapsed electricals chain have already been axed, including 603 home delivery network jobs on Monday.

A further 57 head office posts at Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, 56 jobs at a call centre in Clevedon, and 17 from an office in Hull also went this week, on top of 330 redundancies at the sites last week.

Deloitte has also announced that at least 27 Comet stores, including the Bury St Edmunds branch where 11 people are currently employed, will close by the end of November unless a buyer is found, with 14 more also at risk of imminent closure.

Comet has been hit by weak consumer demand, competition from online rivals and being unable to secure the trade credit insurance needed to safeguard suppliers.

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