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Comet reports sales slump

Poor trading in the Boxing Day clearance period tightened the squeeze on electricals chain Comet today after it reported a 15% slump in sales.

Poor trading in the Boxing Day clearance period tightened the squeeze on electricals chain Comet today after it reported a 15% slump in sales.

The company, which is within days of being sold to retail turnaround firm OpCapita, experienced an improving sales trend before Christmas but this was offset in the days leading up to New Year.

Revenues between November 1 and January 8 were down by 14.5% on a like-for-like basis, while sales generated through its website were flat.

It is the latest trading blow for the chain, which operates 248 stores and has about 10,000 staff in the UK. The business recently posted losses of £22m for six months trading after revenues slid by more than 18% on a same-store basis in the face of the consumer spending squeeze.

Comet’s current owner Kesa Electricals recently called time on its ownership by agreeing to sell the chain for £2 in a deal that will still see it pump £50m into the business and take on the firm’s pension scheme.

It revealed today that the current performance meant that net debt in the Comet business will exceed the agreed threshold by up to £15m.

The Comet sale, which is due to complete on February 3, will enable Kesa to focus on its other European businesses, including the Darty electricals retail business in France.

It said Darty France’s like-for-like sales were 4.7% lower in the period, although it added the business continued to outperform a weaker than expected electricals market. Demand for televisions has been poor, offset by strong sales of multi-media products.

 

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