ABOUT 80 jobs are under threat as two local Comet stores face closure.
The electrical chain will be placed into administration next week, putting the jobs at the Leeds Road branch in Huddersfield and the Greenmount Retail Park branch in Halifax at risk.
Both stores were open seven days a week and employed a mix of full-time, part-time and weekend staff. They remain open as the administration and restructuring process is completed in the hope a buyer will be found.
Nationally around 6,500 retail jobs are under threat as Comet became the latest casualty on the high street.
The 240-strong chain confirmed plans for it to be placed into administration next week and a spokesman said staff were informed of plans yesterday.
Comet 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.
Deloitte has been lined up to handle the administration.
A Comet spokesman said that for customers with outstanding orders and those with gift cards and vouchers it is “business as usual until further notice” and the group intends to fulfil deliveries of products that have been paid for.
Retail experts are predicting a pre-Christmas rush for discounted stock with the administrator expected to wind down supplies and raise cash for creditors.
OpCapita, which bought the retailer in February for just £2, said it invested £35m in Comet after buying the group, while it also received £50m from Kesa, its former owner, as part of the original sale.
The high street electricals market has come under huge pressure as cash-strapped shoppers put off purchases of big-ticket items and online rivals have taken a bigger slice of the sector.
Shares of Comet’s rivals rose on news of the planned administration, with PC World and Currys parent Dixons Retail leaping by 15%.
Comet’s collapse is one of the biggest since the demise of Woolworths in 2008 and comes a month after the failure of JJB Sports.
Other recent casualties have included Clinton Cards, Blacks Leisure, Game and Peacocks, many of them had stores in Huddersfield which were closed.
Comet was founded in 1933 by George Hollingbery in Hull as Comet Battery Stores Limited.
The company moved into the radio rental business and by 1939 had 2,500 accounts.
The company was listed in 1970 before being acquired by Kingfisher for £129 million in 1984.
Comet then acquired Norweb Retail and increased its store portfolio to more than 250 nationwide in 1996.