Pulling plug on Comet?

A store chain with a Hartlepool branch looks to be entering its final death throes after administrators confirmed no-one had come forward to buy it.

The joint administrators of Comet say they will start closing a further 125 stores.

That will leave around 70 stores which will remain open until all of the remaining stock is sold – but administrators at Deloitte say they can’t confirm whether the Hartlepool branch will close immediately.

Comet has a town branch at the Anchor Retail Park

Chris Farrington, Joint Administrator, 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.”

Mr Farrington added: “We remain extremely grateful to the company’s employees for their commitment and support during a period of concern and anxiety for them.

“All employees will be paid for the work they do while the company is in administration and I can confirm that any accrued holiday pay, overtime and bonus earned during the Administration trading period, together with the pre-administration bonus that was owed to employees at the time of our appointment, will be paid to employees as previously stated.”

He said a dedicated helpline had been set up for all employees and added: “The Company is running an Employee Assistance Programme to help those staff made redundant.

“As part of this programme, the company has established relationships with more than 35 prospective employers who are keen to offer roles to ex-Comet employees, and is actively working to introduce the workers to these employers.

“We will also be organising a series of employment fairs around the country during the New Year to assist any Comet staff who have been made redundant and remain out of work.”

Neville Kahn, Nick Edwards and Chris Farrington of Deloitte, the business advisory firm, were appointed joint administrators to Comet on Friday, November 2.