Deathwatch - HMV hatch rescue plan, Comet in trouble too?

hmv2Despite their ongoing situation with regards to banks and debt and money in general, HMV management are insistent the company is not in financial trouble. That said, you don't usually see a company coming up with radical plans to pay back debts when they don't have to.

The HMV group has issued four profit warnings since September last year, and recently warned it may soon breach the conditions of its banking facilities. According to the Financial Times, HMV has been talking to lenders for the past three months and is preparing a plan to settle some of its debt; a plan that may include the selling of its Waterstones chain of bookstores for up to £75 million.

It's also thought that HMV will slowly move into selling home electricals to offset plummeting entertainment sales. The FT points out a pilot HMV store in London that has given over a quarter of its floorspace to selling tech, including tablet computers, MP3 players and headphones.

But is tech retail anymore secure than entertainment? Last week, the Bennetts chain of superstores, which employed 300 people, went into administration. Meanwhile, an unconfirmed source has told Bitterwallet that everything may not be too rosy at Comet. The source alleges that the retailer has laid off 400 staff recently, and that Comet recently attempted to buy a supply of Samsung televisions for an Easter promotion but couldn’t afford to pay up front, and it was Dixons that eventually took the deal.

Now we haven't heard anything from other readers to confirm that redundancies have taken place, so there's every chance everything's fine and dandy at Comet. Their press office are yet to respond to our request for a statement, however, so if you can confirm or deny our source's allegations please let us know.


  • The D.
    I heard that Comet laid off 250 staff at their service centre in Scotland & will be doing the same with some stores. Comes from a current employee & an ex-employee with contacts!
  • Delenn
    Slow news day from the FT then. Nothing new about HMV here. Since KPMG were bought in, this has been all over the papers regularly. Hadn't heard the stuff about Comet though. Not to keen on Dixons being the last man standing in the UK.
  • Me
    If the Comet story is true, lets just hope they handle it better than PC World did.
  • Dick
    HMV - don't care. Comet - don't care. In fact, a little hooray!
  • Mike
    Glad to hear about the news regarding Comet. Poor customer service and badly trained staff. I can't find myself feeling sorry for this chain.
  • qwertyuiop
    Selling home electronics REALLY isn't a good move for HMV. They're already the most expensive purveyors of DVDs, music and games on the high street. Now they're just going to be stupidly undercut by the likes of John Lewis and the DLG group Maybe they should just cut their losses and sell off their high street presence like Woolies and keep their online presence, albeit with improved customer service and fewer products incorrectly priced which get mysteriously discontinued by their stock providers.
  • hyrule
    Would be sorry to see Comet close. Very helpful well trained staff in my experience. Much better than Curry's where it's usually a struggle to get someone to sell you something.
  • Harry B.
    On a recent trip to Comet, i was nagged to take out insurance on a 4 pack of Duracells. Upon saying no, i was "attacked" with a fridge door handle. Helpful, no, crazed, yes. I'm fine now thanks.
  • Fuzzchopz
    Good news on the Bennets Front they have been took over by a Local Company called Hughes Electrical.
  • Comet B.
    [...] Yesterday, we reported on the ongoing troubles at HMV, and rumours of job losses and cashflow problems at Comet. [...]
  • Ozstriker
    People should be ashamed of the comments like "im glad they are going" etc. Although you may not like the retailer the staff are doing the job instructed to them by their superiors, and ultimately it will be the normal shop staff that will loose their jobs and have to walk away with nothing! Having been employed by a company that was placed into administration I can assure you it is not pleasant, and despite your spiteful comments I hope you never experience such things. Ultimately the reason shops are closing are because of the internet. Yes online is cheaper but where would the online shoppers go to view the product before buying online if the Comet's the Curry's of the world are not there. We need brick and mortar retailers yet it appears we will only realise it once they have all vanished.
  • ex i.
    Tried working for them as installer. Managed to do it for a month then quit. Start at 6.00 am, work till you finish all installations back to the centre. clean out the lorry get moaned at for not doing some minor procedure. go home eat sleep and up for 6.00 am start. Now their's hard work and their's taking the pee. And they are closing down sites to streamline the operation Translation Costing to mauch sack some people!
  • Sensei M.
    Online sites have very low overheads,monkeys to do the picking or totally auto,if it goes wrong then send it back via a courier,wait three weeks and get another sent to you.No in house repairs or advice and no way to see it unless you pop into Comet or Currys,when they close down then you will see prices go up online to a realistic level or higher than your local store,who cares I DO.
  • Stephen
    Its about time Comet had cumupance!!Bad customer service and dreadful aftercare have to be a factor of Comets future closer.I have inside info that they are slashing margins just to turn over cash. My advice to all is to seek out your local Independant retailer,get good honest advice,great after care service too!!!!!
  • Pink C.
    I worked at an HMV store for 2 Christmas's as a temp and I have to admit that although I loved working there the staff haven't got a clue and I personally felt it needed a good shaking up. Some of the staff I worked with were rude to their fellow colleagues let alone staff and I'm surprised that people bought items considering they are tax free from the HMV website or cheaper elsewhere such as eBay or Amazon, which is where I mainly buy my cd's and dvd's from. I haven't purchased anything from HMV, bricks and mortar or website, since I left in Dec 2008. The surplus stock was literally all over the place and hunting for something a customer enquired about was beyond a joke to say the least and very embarrassing. It was almost as though the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing. Overnight the nightshift changed things around and about so the next day everything was literally in a new place and it was difficult to locate it because the day staff didn't know where it had been moved too. There was always a daily financial target in double thousand figures, which was on occasion met. There are people who do like going out a Saturday and going into stores. As someone said it won't be until the shopping streets of the UK are empty and a ghost town that the internet has helped in its decline and eventual extinction. The internet, I feel I have to admit, has a lot to answer for.

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