The administrators of collapsed electricals retailer Comet have confirmed that 41 Comet stores will close by the end of the month, putting up to 1,000 jobs under threat.
Administrator Deloitte started closing down Sales in 27 stores on Saturday and another 14 stores are set to start cutting prices for the Sale early this week.
Deloitte added that “more generous discounts” will also be applied to goods across the remaining 195 Comet stores, which continue to trade as normal.
Staff at stores facing closure will be redeployed where possible but there will be redundancies. An employee consultation process is also underway.
Retail Week revealed on Friday that 500 jobs were set to be axed over the weekend from the retailer’s home delivery arm.
Deloitte said it is continuing to talk with interested parties who want part of the business.
Chris Farrington, joint administrator, added: “We are very grateful to the company’s employees for their professionalism, loyalty and support at this difficult time and all employees will of course continue to be paid for all the work they do while the company is in administration.”
Deloitte was appointed administrator to Comet on Friday November 2.
It is understood Deloitte is currently in talks to save 50 stores, said the Sunday Telegraph.
Deloitte is thought to be in “detailed discussions” and sources have said one agreement involving 20 stores could be finalised by the end of this week.
Home shopping group Shop Direct has been named as being interested in buying the brand.
It has also emerged that Comet was trading in line with financial targets weeks before administrators were appointed. It is understood that a presentation given by management in October reported that cash was “ahead of forecast” and suppliers were supportive.
According to financial data in the presentation, Comet made a £12.7m loss before EBITDA up to the end of September after being bought by OpCapita for £2 last year. Sales were down 7.5%. This performance was in line with the targets set by Comet management and meant the retailer was on course to break even for the full year.
OpCapita sources said Comet had to call in administrators after speculation in mid-October that the investment firm could sell Comet led to suppliers demanding tougher financial terms, which created a cash squeeze that even an improvement in trading could not overcome.