Comet to go into administration cutting 6,500 jobs

British electronics retailers Comet has confirmed that it will go into administration, putting 6,500 jobs at risk.

The 240-store business is owned by private equity firm Opcapita, which purchased the chain for a measly £2 less than a year ago.

OpCapita bought Comet from Kesa Electricals, which had itself struggled to turn around the business with estimated operational losses of about £35m last year.

Following a struggle to compete with rivals and online merchants, the firm has instructed accountancy firm Deloitte to act as administrator which will run the business while it assesses options for sales, closures and liquidation.

The last straw for one of Britain's most popular high street names came when Comet could no longer obtain credit insurance, which protects suppliers if their customer base collapses. With no credit insurance, the chain would have pay cash for the build of stock for the Christmas season.

Comet said that customers with outstanding orders are being told it is "business as usual until further notice" and that the group intends to fulfil deliveries of products that have been paid for.

Industry analysts blame the economic downturn, low consumer spending and the surge of online shopping for the collapse of Britain's most prominent electrical stores.

Jon Copestake, retail analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, told the BBC he felt that Comet's problems "come as little surprise".

"Not only has Comet faced deflationary pressures thanks to stiff competition and cheaper production costs, but core audio visual products are being undermined by combined platforms on smartphones and tablet computers," he said.

Comet was founded in 1933 as a business charging batteries for wireless sets. It opened its first store in 1968 in Hull and was later bought by Kingfisher in 1984, which expanded the Comet brand into one of the most familiar names on the high street.

Comet is the biggest retail casualty since Woolworths collapsed in 2008. The company's anticipated demise also comes just a month after British sporting goods retailer JJB Sports fell into administration, with 2,200 staff being made redundant.

A tranche of other retailers have faced the chop this year including Clinton Cards, Game Group, Peacocks and Aquascutum.

As British consumer spending declines and sales move increasingly online, the future for Britain's high street looks overwhelmingly bleak.

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