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Comet administrator Deloitte triggers ejector seats under 330 staff

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Comet administrator Deloitte has swung the axe for the first time since it was brought in to take control of operations with 330 support staff getting the chop.

Biz advisory outfit Deloitte confirmed 99 staff at the Rickmansworth HQ, 53 from the operation in Hull and 42 in the call centre in Clevedon were told of their fate on Friday afternoon.

The receiver did not indicate where the rest of the lay-offs came but did reveal that all redundancies were made in the head office and across central functions such as marketing and finance.

No workers in the stores or the distribution centres were handed their P45s and Deloitte stated no further cuts were planned "at this stage".

"All 236 Comet stores continue to trade as normal, and staff will continue to be paid for the work they do while Comet is trading in administration," said Neville Kahn, joint administrator.

Rival retailer Dixons said recently that it has 3,000 temporary positions (2,000 in store) up for grabs this December, as it crosses its fingers for a strong peak sales season.

CEO Sebastian James said it had delayed the recruitment process by a week to "allow Comet staff a fair crack at the whip". The Dixons boss, however, confirmed his outfit won't be buying any Comet stores.

"As we look across the country we are pretty much on all the same parks they are so it doesn't really make sense for us," he said.

Kahn at Deloitte said talks with suitors were well underway.

"We are in discussions with a number of parties who have expressed interest in parts of the business and we continue to work hard to preserve jobs," he said.

Comet's previous owner Kesa Electricals offloaded the ailing retailer to venture capitalist Op Capita in November 2011, along with a £50m dowry for working capital.

But credit insurers that had already removed lines of cover for suppliers trading with Comet, refused to reinstate them and the firm was forced to trade on a cash with order basis. ®

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