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10 February 2012

Comet to axe 450 jobs

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Comet's new owner OpCapita is to axe at least 450 repair and support staff in a bid to save the business.

On top of putting field repair engineers on three-months consultation notice, if the proposals go ahead, about a third of the backroom repair support staff at Comet's Cleveland, Bristol, site would also go.

According to a report in The Sun newspaper, the retailer is also  'franchising' out delivery work so drivers would be self-employed. However, a Comet spokeswoman told ERT that all parts of the business are being reviewed but no final decisions have been made.

In a statement, Comet said: "As part of a wider strategic review of its business, Comet has announced proposals to align with other electrical retailers by reducing its investment in electrical field repairs to focus resources more single-mindedly on store operations.

"Comet currently delivers an in-house, UK-wide repair service on behalf of a range of manufacturers.  A departure from this strategy would result in a number of job losses for engineers across the UK as well as some support roles in its Clevedon site near Bristol.

"If these proposals go ahead, in total around 450 roles may be made redundant and a consultation has now begun with affected staff."

Bob Darke, Comet chief executive said: "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."