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Uncertainty for staff in Comet crisis

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 20, 2012

By Nino Williams

Comet
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COMET stores in Swansea and Llanelli have survived the first wave of closures — but further announcements from administrators are expected imminently.

Business advisory firm Deloitte has been hired as administrator to look for a buyer for the troubled electrical retail chain, and over the weekend it announced the closures of 41 stores across the country, including shops in Wrexham, Brighton and Orpington.

A spokesman for the company said all their other stores would continue trading for the time being, but a further 14 closures were being considered — and another announcement could be expected "in a few days".

Comet has a store on Swansea's Enterprise Park, where it employs 24 people, and at Pemberton Retail Park in Llanelli, where it employs eleven staff.

The company employs 6,611 people across the UK, with workers now worried for the future of their jobs, and the uncertainty coming in the run-up to Christmas.

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for an investigation into the handling of the store's affairs.

The petition is calling for answers for Comet workers who claim to be "working under the shadow of redundancy" on a day-to-day basis.

Deloitte says a number of parties have expressed interest in parts of the business.

Comet invested £1 million in a flagship store on the Swansea Enterprise Park in 2002.

Its parent company OpCapita officially took ownership of the chain in February this year.

OpCapita agreed to buy the 249-store UK chain for £2 from retailer Kesa, which provided a dowry of £50 million to rid itself of the loss making business.

At the time John Clare, the veteran electrical retailer who became chairman of Comet, said he would take the struggling chain back to its 1980s roots.

He said low prices would hold the key to success for its new private equity owners, but the business has continued to struggle.

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  • lancelot69  |  November 20 2012, 9:44PM

    It doesn't surprise me at all. Over-inflated prices, a do anything not to give you a refund reputation and staff that attack you as soon as you enter the store.

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  • Hadoken737373  |  November 20 2012, 7:32PM

    I went down there looking for a bargain, even with 10% or 20% off the stock was still more expensive than what you can get online. All of a sudden it made sense why they have gone into administration...

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