The insolvent electronics retail chain Comet will close 41 stores in the coming weeks unless a buyer can be found, administrators have confirmed.
27 stores began closing down sales today, with a further 14 closing down sales set to begin next week.
The chain's remaining outlets are expected to continue trading through till at least Christmas with generous discounts likely to be introduced to products in an attempt to drum up business. However, their long-term future remains uncertain.
The news could be very dire for Comet employees throughout the region - including the 24 full and part-time staff at the Comet in Exeter - but it is still unclear what stores are set to close. Staff were due to be briefed about their situation either Friday night or Saturday morning.
Administrator Deloitte are believed to be in talks with Dixons and Maplins who are reportedly interested in buying a number of Comet outlets.
"Regrettably, however, it is necessary to begin a store closure programme and an employee consultation process is under way," Deloitte said in a statement.
"While the administrators will look to redeploy staff from any stores which do face closure to other stores nearby, there will inevitably be redundancies," it added.