Job fears at Sunderland and Durham Comet stores

Comet store at Hylton Retail Park.

Comet store at Hylton Retail Park.

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WORKERS at two Wearside stores face an uncertain future with the collapse of electrical chain Comet.

About 6,500 retail jobs nationwide are under threat after the retail park giant confirmed plans to go into administration next week. The firm has stores at North Hylton in Sunderland and in Durham.

Staff were told of the plans yesterday and restructuring specialist Deloitte has been lined up to handle the administration.

Comet, which has 240 stores, said it was “urgently working” on plans to secure the company’s future and it is expected that administrators will seek a buyer for the business.

The high street electrical market in the UK has come under huge pressure as cash-strapped shoppers put off purchases of big-ticket items such as TVs and large appliances and online rivals take a bigger slice of the sector.

Jon Copestake, retail analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said Comet’s woes “come as little surprise”. “Not only has Comet faced deflationary pressures thanks to stiff competition and cheaper production costs, but core audio-visual products are being undermined by combined platforms on smartphones and tablet computers,” he said.

Comet’s collapse raises the prospect of a pre-Christmas rush for discounted stock, with the administrator expected to wind down supplies and raise cash for creditors. The news comes just months after Comet was taken over by investment firm OpCapita, which bought the chain for a nominal £2 in February and then invested £35million.

Consumers have been warned to act quickly if they have vouchers or orders with Comet. Comet’s customer care team is handling inquiries on 0844 8009595.

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