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Update on Comet (in Administration)

19 November 2012

The Joint Administrators of Comet have today announced 735 further redundancies in the company’s head office, central functions and across its home delivery network. 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.

603 employees have been made redundant from the home delivery network which operates from 12 hubs across the UK. The network will continue to operate, although with a significantly reduced workforce at each of the 12 locations, in order to complete deliveries and continue to support the repairs operation.

In addition, the Administrators have had to make a further 132 employees redundant from Comet’s head office and support functions. This includes 57 redundancies at Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire: 17 employees in Hull; and 56 employees from the call centre in Clevedon. The announcements were made to affected staff in meetings today.

A dedicated helpline is in place for all employees and the company is running an Employee Assistance Programme to help those staff made redundant find other jobs. As part of this programme, the company has established relationships with more than 35 prospective employers who are keen to offer roles to ex-Comet employees, and the company is actively working to introduce redundant Comet employees to these employers.

There have been no redundancies to date at Comet stores. However, the Administrators confirmed on Saturday (17th) that up to 41 Comet stores may have to close between now and the end of November, unless a buyer can be found for the business. 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.

The Administrators will look to redeploy staff from any stores which close to other stores nearby, but there will inevitably be redundancies among the 869 full-time and part-time employees who work in these 41 stores.

Chris Farrington, Joint Administrator, commented: “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.

“This support includes connecting people to prospective employers who are keen to offer roles to ex-Comet staff, and providing assistance and workshops to help with job hunting skills, such as CV and cover letter writing and interview skills, to enhance their chances of securing new employment.

“We are very grateful to the company’s employees for their professionalism, loyalty and support at this difficult time and employees will of course continue to be paid for all the work they do while the company is in Administration.”

Neville Kahn, Nick Edwards and Chris Farrington of Deloitte, the business advisory firm, were appointed Joint Administrators to Comet, the electrical retailer, on Friday 2 November.

Ends

Home Delivery Network
The 603 employees who have been made redundant from Comet’s 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

Stores
A closing down sale is underway at the following 27 stores: Aylesbury, Barnstaple, Barrow-in-Furness, Beckton, Birmingham / Perry Bar, Brighton, Bury St Edmunds, Christchurch, Crawley, Falkirk, Glasgow – Great Western, Gloucester (St Oswalds), Guildford, Halifax, Harlow, Leeds – Crown Point, Luton, Margate, New Malden, Orpington, Rugby, Selly Oak, Sheffield – Drake House, Southend, Wrexham, Yeading, Yeovil.

The locations of the other 14 stores which may have to close by the end of November will be disclosed once final decisions have been taken regarding the locations.

About Deloitte
I
n this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see www.deloitte.co.uk/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.


 

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