Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

More than 100 Comet staff could lose jobs

More than 100 store staff at Comet could lose their jobs as the UK electricals retailer cuts costs amid tough trading in the retail sector.

The 250-store chain, which is owned by Kesa Electricals, is to make the post of store deputy manager redundant, and kicked off a consultation period with those affected this week.



Comet, along with other retailers, has been hit by consumers postponing purchases of big-ticket items, such as fridges and washing machines, as they tighten their purse strings and the housing market tumbles.



A Comet spokeswoman said: "Our proposal is a response to the changes our business is facing and the highly competitive nature of the market we operate in. We are seeking to secure alternative roles for colleagues based on their experience and the roles available." She said no decision had yet been made about job losses. Comet employs about 10,000 staff, including 202 store deputy managers.



Robert Clark, senior partner at the market research firm Retail Knowledge Bank, said: "If fewer people are moving house, then they are less likely to purchase new fridges and washing machines that fit into their new space." However, he stressed all retailers are taking a sword to their staffing costs and unprofitable stores.



In June, Kesa chief executive Jean-Noël Labroue said the UK-wide market for white goods, such as fridges and dishwashers, was down by 8 to 10 per cent.