Comet is to shut all of its stores by December 18 and close its distribution centre this week unless a buyer for the business can be found.

The collapsed electricals retailer has notified staff that its entire chain will close if a last ditch bid cannot be made.

Comet’s distribution centre in Harlow, Essex, is expected shut on Friday, The Sun reported.

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. 

The company’s business support functions at Rickmansworth, Hull and Clevedon will be further reduced at the same time.

Joint administrator Chris Farrington said: “We remain in discussions with a small number of interested parties and hope that a positive outcome can still be achieved. Should any acceptable offers be received for stores we will delay the closure process. Unfortunately, in the absence of a firm offer for the whole of the business, it has become necessary to begin making plans in case a sale is not concluded. If a sale is not possible we would envisage stores to begin closing in December.”

Southampton-based tycoon Clive Coombes is reportedly attempting a bid to save 180 of the chain’s remaining 195 stores and is meeting administrator Deloitte on Friday.

In a letter to staff, Deloitte administrator Chris Farrington said an “acceptable offer” for the retailer is unlikely. He said Deloitte will “begin taking the necessary steps to best realise the remaining stock and exit from all the remaining stores”.

Sources claim a handful of stores have already been sold to Dixons Retail and Maplin while TX Maxx and Poundstretcher are also understood to be interested in packages of stores.

The closures would mean 5,000 Comet staff would be left unemployed just a week before Christmas.

Insiders have claimed Deloitte’s mission has always been to break up the business to generate more cash for creditors including former owners OpCapita.

Deloitte insisted it is pursuing every option possible to save the business.