Cawing retail vultures circle dying Comet, might rip some chunks off
Aaark! Aaark! say Maplins, Dixons, webshops
Both bricks-and-mortar and web-based traders are looking to pick through the bones of sickened retail outfit Comet.
The receivers Deloitte landed at Comet's doorstep on 2 November to take over operations and have set about cutting costs and finding buyers for the business, which is likely to be broken up.
According to sources involved in discussions, Dixons is understood to be looking only at stores in retail parks where it does not have a competing outlet.
"Discussions are taking place," said someone familiar with the matter. "Dixons is interested in a handful of stores, maybe five to six".
Maplins is understood to be interested in cherry-picking Comet's stores and sources say it has also tabled in a bid for the online operation.
The electronics retailer's press office, however, said if management are talking to Comet receiver Deloitte "we have not been informed".
Other bidders for Comet's webshop include Shop Direct and etailer Appliances Direct, part of the Buy It Direct Ltd group, which includes a bunch of tech e-commerce sites such Laptops Direct and Servers Direct.
It is felt that the brand recognition of Comet will help the bidders reach a wider audience of shoppers and allow them to diversify into a broader electronics arena.
Administrator Deloitte has started to make redundancies at Comet, with 330 staff in support functions getting the boot last week. Sales staff across its 236 stores were unaffected.
Rival Dixons has already told Comet staff that it is hiring 3,000 workers for Christmas (2,000 in store) and has delayed the recruitment process to allow them to apply.
Deloitte did not respond to calls for comment. ®