The news just doesn’t get better for one of the UK’s largest electrical retail giants, Comet. Last week, administrators Deloitte announced that they would have to close a further 125 stores if a buyer could not be found for the business soon. It is also worth mentioning that the administrators have said that it is already unlikely that the business would be sold as a going concern.
Deloitte have apparently had an offer of ‘millions’ from competitor Appliances Online, though they are apparently in talks with a number of different interested parties. The problem that lies ahead is that Deloitte wants to sell the WHOLE business as a going concern, rather than sell off individual stores which will break the brand down and seriously devalue it.
If a buyer for the chain is not sought soon, it is going to lead to job losses that are estimated to be at around the 3000 mark. Terrible news when it is so close to Christmas. Moreover, many have said that Comet could be closed completely by Christmas if their luck doesn’t turn for the better.
In a post on this subject earlier on in the month, a couple of commentors predicted that Comet would indeed be bought. It was clear in the post that this was not my thinking. As unfortunate as it was, I was, and still am, of the opinion that a chain like Comet doesn’t have a place on the British High Street or retail park. Not when the internet has made buying goods of all varieties much simpler and almost effortless. Maybe if Comet had approached the changing market like Argos has done, and turned it’s stores into collection points based on a web-built business, then maybe it would have had a chance. But unfortunately it has succumb to the growing power of internet retail and was caught on the hop.
Of course, I hope that Comet will find a buyer in time and that thousands of jobs will be saved. But as things stand now, it doesn’t look all that positive.
Unfortunately, this is a pattern that we have seen repeated over the last four or five years as the economic slump, combined with the rise of internet sales have ravaged our high streets. What it does display rather well is the massive power the internet has now. The conventional way in which we buy things has probably changed forever. And even in our sector it is important that we embrace the advantages of the internet. The web has brought an open age of information and investigation. If customers want to buy new windows and doors, they are more than likely going to go straight to the internet to do some research. You have to be there with a good website and the right info to make sure that customer rings you or emails you and asks for one of your sales team to go see them at home.
Our industry is one which I don’t think will be damaged sales wise by the internet as windows and doors are a very bespoke item with far too many variables for a website to easily manage. But it is imperative we use all facets of the internet to boost our sector. I can see we are doing that now from the evidence I see on social media platforms like Twitter. It could be a really influential tool when it comes to boosting growth in our sector for the future.