Disposed-of electricals retailer Comet reported a 25.7 per cent drop in profits for its previous owner in the six months before it was sold, results released today revealed.
Comet, which Kesa Electricals agreed to sell to private investment firm OpCapita for just £2 in November, saw revenues decline year-on-year by 21 per cent in total and 17.9 per cent in constant currencies over the six months ending October 31st 2011.
Sales totalled €683 million (£587 million) for the half year representing a like-for-like decline of 18.6 per cent, underlining how difficult OpCapita is going to find turning the loss making business around.
David Newlands, Chairman of Kesa, commented: “Market conditions are becoming more challenging across all our markets. I am pleased therefore that we have reached agreement for the disposal of Comet, subject to shareholder approval.
“The disposal is expected to improve significantly the group’s financial strength and enables us to maintain an interim dividend of 2.25 cents per share.”
Kesa, which also runs the French based Darty business, reported a total retail loss of €9.2 million for the period but once Comet’s performance was excluded for the figures the group actually made a profit of €16.5 million.
An alignment of web and store prices, a fall in click & collect sales, and a scalling down of two specialist websites meant that online sale, a source of growth for most retailers even in these difficult trading conditions, fell 12 per cent year-on-year.
Last month Comet launched a new partnership with eBay and a mobile app to help multichannel sales, while during the last half period four bricks and mortar stores were closed resulting in a 0.3 per cent drop in selling space.