Appliances Online owner DRL has emerged as a bidder for the Comet brand as the fascia looks poised to disappear from retail parks for good.
DRL is understood to have submitted a bid for the Comet website. The electricals etail group, which also provides white label services for retailers including Next and Argos, is thought to have tabled a “seven figure” offer for the Comet brand.
DRL generated sales of £151.5m and pre-tax profits of £3.35m in its year to March 31, 2011.
The etail specialist is understood to face competition from online giant Shop Direct, which is also mulling a bid for the Comet name. The etailer, which owns Littlewoods, bought the Woolworths brand from administrator Deloitte in 2009 and relaunched the business online.
A source close to the situation told Retail Week that it would be a “major surprise” if a bidder came forward to buy the entire Comet business, including its stores.
However, it is understood that Maplin, Dixons and Argos parent Home Retail Group are all looking to pick up stores.
Meanwhile, OpCapita consultant Chris Pavlosky is understood to be listening to bids for TWG, Comet’s profitable warranties business, which is not in administration.
Comet, which collapsed into administration at the beginning of the month, has shut 27 out of the 41 shops it has earmarked for closure before the end of the month.
Further store closures are expected. Sources close to the situation expect a phased closing-down programme to be revealed within the next two weeks.
This week, administrator Deloitte revealed 735 further redundancies across Comet’s Rickmansworth head office, logistics division and home delivery network. That was in addition to 330 redundancies made at the HQ in Hertfordshire and Clevedon call centre in Somerset the previous week.
Comet, which was acquired by private investment firm OpCapita for £2 in November last year, collapsed after its credit insurance was pulled, leaving it unable to buy Christmas stock.
Deloitte said it had contacted more than 35 prospective employers to find roles for redundant staff.