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33 jobs lost in Exeter as Comet administrators axe 735 staff

By GRichardson  |  Posted: November 20, 2012

Comet
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More than 30 Exeter-based staff of Comet's home delivery network are among 735 employees made redundant today by the firm's administrators.

The job losses in the company's head office, central functions and across its home delivery network come as the administrators of the stricken electricals chain continue to search for a buyer for all or parts of the business.

A total of 603 employees have been made redundant from the home delivery network, which operates from 12 hubs across the UK, including Exeter, where 33 workers have lost their jobs.

The network will continue to operate with a significantly reduced workforce to complete deliveries and continue to support the repairs operation.

In addition, the administrators have made 132 employees redundant from Comet's head office and support functions. The announcements were made to affected staff in meetings today.

A dedicated helpline is in place for all employees and the company is running an employee assistance programme to help those staff made redundant find other jobs.

There have been no redundancies so far at Comet stores since the company went into administration on November 2. But a closing down sale with increased discounts has begun in 27 stores, including branches in Barnstaple and Yeovil.

The Exeter store, on Stone Lane Retail Park, Marsh Barton, is not among those earmarked for closure.

Administrators said a further 14 stores may be identified for closure in the coming days unless a buyer can be found or new terms agreed with landlords in the meantime. At the same time, bigger discounts will be applied to products across all Comet stores from tomorrow.

The administrators have said they will look to redeploy staff from any stores which close to other branches nearby, but warned there will inevitably be redundancies among the 869 full-time and part-time employees who work in the 41 stores facing the axe.

Chris Farrington, joint administrator at Deloitte, said: "Discussions continue to take place with parties who have expressed interest in parts of the business. However, it is unfortunately necessary to begin a store closure programme and to scale back the company's support functions. While we will continue to do all we can to preserve jobs, we are working hard to put in place comprehensive support to help those employees who are made redundant during the administration.

"This support includes connecting people to prospective employers who are keen to offer roles to ex-Comet staff, and providing assistance and workshops to help with job hunting skills, such as CV and cover letter writing and interview skills, to enhance their chances of securing new employment.

"We are very grateful to the company's employees for their professionalism, loyalty and support at this difficult time and employees will of course continue to be paid for all the work they do while the company is in administration."

Read more from Exeter Express and Echo

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