Electricals retailer Comet is to shut 14 of its service centres and has begun consultations with 411 affected staff as it seeks to make redundancies.

The retailer is to centralise servicing and repair at two national distribution centres in Harlow, Essex, and Skelmersdale, Lancashire as part of its push to improve efficiency in the light of tough trading.

Comet intends to create 150 new jobs at the two centres and up to half the staff affected by the changes are expected to be redeployed.

The retailer’s 12 home delivery centres including those attached to service centres, are unaffected with the exception of Castleford – its operations and staff will be transferred to Leeds.

Comet managing director Hugh Harvey said: “The centralisation of our service function will allow us to maximise the use of new technology we have invested in, work more efficiently and offer an improved repair service to our customers.

“I am saddened that as a consequence of the reorganisation a number of roles will be made redundant. However, where possible we hope to redeploy colleagues.”