Former Comet owner OpCapita has finally spoken out as 5,000 staff are set to be made redundant by Christmas.
The private investment firm, led by Henry Jackson, which has remained silent since the electricals retailer crashed into administration at the beginning of the month said: “We are sorry for all the Comet employees who have served the business and customers with great loyalty and have lost their jobs at such a difficult time.”
“OpCapita installed a new management team led by John Clare, who did their utmost to revive the loss-making Comet business, but a combination of adverse factors, including the withdrawal of credit insurance and the consequent reluctance of suppliers to supply the business on normal terms meant it became impossible for the business to carry on trading.”
OpCapita, which in another guise also failed to save MFI, has come under heavy criticism after it emerged it will be among the first creditors in line for an estimated £60m that could be recovered from the collapsed retailer.
Yesterday it was revealed that all of Comet’s stores are set to shut by December 18 and its distribution centre is to close this week unless a buyer for the business can be found.
Administrator Deloitte confirmed a further 125 stores are to close over the next few weeks and will leave approximately 70 stores which will remain open until all of the remaining stock is sold.
Meanwhile, the administrator confirmed it remains in discussion with a “small number of interested parties”. Southampton-based entrepreneur Clive Coombes, owner of CC Business Angels, has emerged as a potential white knight who is looking to save 180 of the chain’s remaining 195 stores.
Meanwhile, Appliances Online owner DRL and Shop Direct are understood to be vying for the rights to trade the Comet brand.