Comet's Remaining Stores Close For Last Time
Comet's 50 remaining stores are trading for the final time after administrators failed to find a buyer for the electrical retailer.
The collapse of the firm, founded in Hull in 1933 and which employed around 6,895 people at the time of its collapse, is one of the biggest high street failures since the demise of Woolworths in 2008.
Administrator Deloitte said in a report that it remained in talks with a small number of parties over the sale of internet operations and the brand.
But the firm also confirmed that the taxpayer will have to pick up a £49.4m bill for unpaid redundancy and tax payments.
With insufficient funds raised from the winding down of the chain, the Government's Redundancy Payments Service will be required to meet the £23.2m of outstanding redundancy and accrued holiday pay and pay in lieu of notice.
The scale of the problems at Comet were also highlighted in the report, with the chain racking up losses of £95m in the year to April after also seeing revenues slump by £200m compared to a year earlier.
This was followed by a further £31m loss in the subsequent five months as credit insurers lost confidence and withdrew support for the business.
Hailey Acquisitions, the investment vehicle put together by Henry Jackson of OpCapita who raised funding from unnamed investors for Comet's takeover from French retail group Darty, is expected to get payments of just under £50m as a secured creditor - a shortfall of £95m on the amount owed.
But it has been reported that unsecured creditors, including HM Revenue and Customs which is owed £26.2m, will receive nothing.
Comet was hit by weak high street trading conditions, competition from online rivals and being unable to secure the trade credit insurance needed to safeguard suppliers.
In particular, it was knocked by the lack of first-time home buyers who were key customers for Comet.
Holders of £4.7m of unclaimed Comet gift cards and vouchers are also on the list of unsecured creditors.