Another 125 Comet stores to close as 5,000 staff face redundancy just a week before ChristmasThe remaining 70 stores will stay open until all remaining stock is soldAdministrators also plan to close the company's distribution centre in Harlow, Essex, this Friday
11:39 GMT, 28 November 2012
Up to 5,000 staff at electricals chain Comet could be out of a job just a week before Christmas after administrators today announced a further 125 stores will close.
Administrators Deloitte said it would only keep the remaining 70 stores open until all remaining stock is sold.
Around 5,000 employees work across the 195 Comet stores, with more than 3,000 jobs expected to be affected by today's decision.
More closures: Up to 5,000 staff working for the electricals chain Comet face being out of work come Christmas after administrators announced a further 125 are to be closed
Deloitte confirmed it was still in talks
with a 'small number' of interested buyers, but said it was necessary
to begin shutting shops in the absence of a firm offer for the whole
Deloitte is also proposing to close the company's distribution centre in Harlow, Essex, this Friday and will cut back office functions at Rickmansworth, Hull and Clevedon.
The distribution centre at Skelmersdale will continue to support the store network.
The announcement comes after hopes had been raised of a rescue deal after it emerged Southampton-based entrepreneur Clive Coombes was considering making a bid.
Joint-administrator Chris Farrington said: 'We remain in discussions with a small number of interested parties and hope that a positive outcome can still be achieved.
'Should any acceptable offers be received for stores we will delay the closure process.
Bargain hunters: Shoppers flocked to Comet stores around the country after it was announced the company was going into administration
'Unfortunately, in the absence of a firm offer for the whole of the business, it has become necessary to begin making plans in case a sale is not concluded.
'If a sale is not possible we would envisage stores to begin closing in December.'
Since Deloitte was appointed to work for the electricals chain, some 1,500 jobs have already been axed.
Farrington added: 'We remain extremely grateful to the Company’s employees for their commitment and support during a period of concern and anxiety for them.
'All employees will be paid for the work they do while the Company is in administration and I can confirm that any accrued holiday pay, overtime and bonus earned during the Administration trading period, together with the pre-Administration bonus that was owed to employees at the time of our appointment, will be paid to employees as previously stated.
'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 is actively working to introduce redundant Comet employees to these employers.
'We will also be organising a series of employment fairs around the country during the New Year to assist any Comet staff who have been made redundant and remain out of work.'