Barking and Dagenham electrical stores axed

Two Comet stores in Barking and Dagenham have shut with the loss of 24 jobs.

One of the shops, in Abbey Road, Barking, employed 11 staff and the other in Whalebone Lane South, Chadwell Heath, had 13 employees.

The closures came to light as administrators Deloitte prepares to close the 35 remaining stores in the collapsed electricals chain today.

Business Secretary Vince Cable is to call for an investigation into the collapse after it emerged taxpayers may have to pay up to �50million to cover the company’s unpaid tax and redundancy costs.

Deloitte announced closures at the 236-store chain after it went into administration in October but a new buyer could not be found.

The administrators blamed increased competition from online retailers for the collapse, saying they do not face the same overheads like store rents and business rates.

Deloitte is to use an online network to put workers in touch with more than 35 prospective employers and is planning to organise job fairs in the New Year.

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Joint administrator Chris Farington said: “Although we had discussions with a number of interested parties, the substantial working capital requirements to fund the business was a significant concern for these parties and was a key factor in preventing a deal being reached. We will now consider the options with regards other assets of the company, including the brand and website.

“We wish to express our gratitude for the professionalism and dedication of all employees across the store network, head office and other support functions during what has clearly been a difficult period for them.”