As the shutters come down on Comet’s remaining stores, Retail Week charts the collapsed electricals retailer’s history




Founded by the Hollingberry family, who begin charging batteries and accumulators for customer wireless sets. They move into selling and renting radios in the 1940s and other electrical goods in the 1950s. Based in Hull, Comet itself was created in 1961.


Pioneers of out-of-town electrical retailing – the first Comet superstore opens in Hull.


The company goes public.


£129m take-over by Kingfisher


Comet acquires Norweb Retail and increases its store portfolio to over 250 stores nationwide.


Comet launches its first transactional website


Kingfisher creates Kingfisher Electricals SA (Kesa), putting its UK and continental European electricals retailing interests into a single business, operationally based in Paris


Comet rejects an approach by a private equity consortium that valued the business at £1.7bn


Click and collect launched


Next day delivery launched


In response to a dip in sales, Comet implements a series of cost-reducing measures, including a reduction in staffing levels


Comet refreshes brand including the introduction of a new logo, TV advertising campaign with “Come and Play” strapline, point of sale materials in-store and updated website.

US electricals giant Best Buy opens its first UK


Comet managing director exits in May amid a like-for-like plummet of 15% over the final quarter of 2010/11. He is replaced by Bob Darke, a Kingfisher veteran

Kesa confirms it has put Comet up for sale in June

Comet is acquired by private investment firm OpCapita for £2 in November


January 15 – Best Buy closes its 11 UK stores

January 26 – Former Dixons boss John Clare becomes Comet chairman

February 3 – OpCapita completes Comet acquisition

February 10 – OpCapita axes 450 repair and support roles

February 24 – Comet starts consultation to close its Hull call centre

March 21 – Comet earmarks 60 shops for closure to slash costs

November 2 – Comet plunges into administration

November 9 – Littlewoods owner Shop Direct emerges as a potential bidder for the electricals chain’s website

November 22 – Etailer DRL reveals it is bidding for Comet’s website

November 27 - Entrepreneur Clive Coombes emerges as a potential bidder for the electricals retailer

Today – Comet leaves the high street as all stores close and Business secretary Vince Cable launches an investigation into OpCapita’s acquisition of the chain