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Comet Stores Prepare For Final Day Of Trading

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Comet's last remaining stores will trade for the final time on Tuesday as the high street spending slump claims another high-profile casualty.

The closure of the final group of 49 stores from the former 235-strong estate comes seven weeks after Deloitte was appointed administrator.

comet

The Comet chain has collapsed owing millions to creditors

The collapse of the firm, founded in Hull in 1933 and which employed around 6,895 people at the time of its collapse, is one of the biggest high street failures since the demise of Woolworths in 2008.

Deloitte has so far failed to find a buyer for the company or any of its shops and in a report published tonight said it remains in talks with a small number of parties including over the sale of internet operations and the brand.

With insufficient funds raised from the winding down of the chain, it will fall to the government's Redundancy Payments Service to meet £23.2 million of outstanding redundancy pay, accrued holiday pay and pay in lieu of notice.

The scale of the problems at Comet were also highlighted in the report, with the chain racking up losses of £95m in the year to April, having seen revenues slump by £200m on a year earlier.

This was followed by a further £31m loss in the subsequent five months as credit insurers lost confidence and withdrew support for the business.

The investment vehicle put together by Henry Jackson of OpCapita, who raised funding from unnamed investors for Comet's takeover from French retail group Darty, is expected to get payments of just under £50m as a secured creditor, a shortfall of £95m on the amount owed.

But it has been reported that unsecured creditors include HM Revenue & Customs which is owed £26.1m and will receive nothing.

Comet 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 who were key customers for Comet.

 
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