Electricals retailer Comet suffered a 15.2% plunge in like-for-like sales in its final quarter, bringing the full-year fall to 7.7%.
Want to know more about Comet?
Comet, which last week parted company with managing director Hugh Harvey, posted 14.5% and 6.8% total sales falls in the respective periods and will make a loss this year.
Teething problems with a new web site meant Comet’s web-generated sales fell 8% in the quarter but “web penetration increased to over 15% of total product sales.”
Thierry Falque-Pierrotin, chief executive of parent company Kesa, said Comet’s performance reflected tough trading conditions in the UK, “particularly following the VAT rise”.
He said: “We have accelerated our plans at Comet to reposition the business and reduce our cost base.”
Comet intends to consolidate its service centres in two locations from 14, reduce its number of warehouses from three to two and has cut head office jobs.
The changes, which the retailer said would also improve customer service, will save £10m on an annualised basis and will result in an exceptional charge of £20m, mostly in the year just ended. There will be a cash cost of £13m, mostly in the financial year just started.
Kesa, whose main business is the Darty chain in France, reported flat sales at group level in the last quarter and a 0.8% increase over the year. Group like-for-likes fell 3.1% and 1.8% respectively.