Concern has been voiced that there was a ‘dry run’ of Comet’s closure as early as last summer.

Restructuring specialist GA Europe, which was drafted in to shut Comet stores following its administration in November, was three months earlier called in to close two shops, while two others were shut in the usual way, The Sun reported.

Former Comet employees suspect GA’s involvement was a “test run” to gauge what cash could be generated if the business went into administration.

One former Comet manager told the newspaper: “We were told in August that GA Europe was coming in as we needed to do a proper analysis of stock levels.

“In hindsight it just looks like these two stores were guinea pigs for what happened later on.

“When we closed our two stores we made a profit. GA Europe made a loss but took more money at the tills.”

One former employee said: “We were all pretty much convinced it looked like a dry run for something bigger – but not quite the scale things ended up going to.”

GA Europe and Comet’s former owner, OpCapita, both declined to comment to the newspaper.