Heartache for South Yorkshire Comet workers

The lastday at the  Comet Store at Parkgate Rotherham
The lastday at the Comet Store at Parkgate Rotherham
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THE last of South Yorkshire’s five Comet stores has closed after the collapse of the electrical retailer.

Almost 100 staff have lost their jobs at local branches, and they told of their shock and anger at the demise of a company which they had been assured was profitable just three months ago.

The branch at Parkgate, Rotherham, was the last store to close, shutting yesterday, after stores at Queens Road and Drakehouse, in Sheffield, Twibell Street in Barnsley, and off York Road in Doncaster.

The company only went into administration on Friday, November 2 – when one Sheffield worker was on holiday.

He said: “I just saw it on the news. It has all happened so quickly – 6,600 jobs across the country have gone. I loved my job, every day was different and we had a lot of regular customers.

“I’d worked there for years and some colleagues had been with the company for up to 27 years.

“We had no indication this was going to happen – we had been told the company was profitable. Not long before the announcement of us going into administration a delegation had gone over to South Korea to meet with Samsung.

“The company was 80 years old and the second biggest electrical retailer in the country, but it has disappeared within weeks. The situation is particularly hard for workers with families and children, and Christmas coming up.”

A colleague said: “A full investigation should be done to find out how the collapse has occurred.

“It’s going to be difficult to find work. The only firms we have been put in touch with are offering as little as 10 hours a week.”

The collapse of the chain could cost taxpayers £50 million, a report from administrator Deloitte has revealed.

Insufficient funds have been raised from the winding down of the chain to pay up to £24m in redundancy payments which may now have to be covered by the Government, while £26.1m of tax is also owed.

Will the end of Comet will leave a big hole in the high street? Write to: The Editor, The Star, York Street, Sheffield S1 1PU