Struggling electricals retailer Comet has today unveiled plans to shrink its in-house repairs services at a cost of as many as 450 jobs.
OpCapita, the private investment firm which recently acquired the UK based business, has decided that resources need to be focused on the trader‘s store operations and so is reducing investment in electrical field repairs.
It has opened a three-month consultation to decide the exact nature of the cuts but it is likely that hundreds of engineers and support staff based at the retailer‘s Clevedon site near Bristol will now be made redundant.
Comet CEO Bob Darke commented: “The proposal to reduce our staff numbers has been a very tough decision to make but significant savings are required to secure the long-term viability of our business. This in no way reflects the commitment and efforts of our employees.
“Our first priorities are to reach a speedy decision and support those who may be affected by our proposal and we will make every effort to help them find alternative employment.”
Continually poor sales figures led to the previous owner of the group Kesa Electricals to sell Comet to OpCapita for just £2, in a deal that was completed at the start of this month.
In January Kesa announced that the debt level of Comet was £10 million to £15 million higher than originally anticipated when it agreed to sell the busines in November and it also revealed that like-for-like sales fro the retailer had dropped 14.5 per cent year-on-year in the 10 weeks to January 2012.
It is clear that OpCapita needs to reduce costs in order to save the business and say that its reduction in investment in field repairs will help it “align with other electricals retailers”.
Dixons Retail, Comet‘s main rival in the sector, has however made its own after-sale service Knowhow central to its turnaround strategy, re-launching the brand under a new name last year.