Electronics retail entrepreneur Clive Coombes is trying to revive the Comet brand name by launching 80 stores over the next two years - and is looking for foolhardy brave investors to support him. In his blog, written in the third person, Coombes, who tried but failed to buy Comet from administrator Deloitte, revealed he has …
Hot air, recycled hot air, pyramid schemes, sales of tax-deductible losses, rebranding...That is 21st century British genius at work, generating added value in a way our silly, metal-bashing forebears could only dream of!
And that name is tarnished, so why?
I always mixed up the names Comet and Currys when it came to the two stores competing in the same market. I even had to look up which stores where which when Currys, erm I mean Comet, collapsed.
Am I alone in this constant mix up?
Sometimes I do that yes.
But what Comet can do this time is tailor its product offering to what is viable. They were too reliant on the white goods sector and other things that first time house buyers needed.
...someone who refers to themselves in the third person.
wowfood agrees wholeheartedly.
I overheard some other guy saying that Great Bu agrees with this also (does that count as 4th person ?)
It was dead when I came in here and its twice as dead now...
Notwithstanding the fact that Comet has all sorts of negative connotations, from imploding airliners to imploding Beko-shifters why is it taking so long for people to realise the brick & mortar is dead. Yes, Amazon wouldn't know customer support if kicked them in the happy sacs but then they're half the price or less and most meatspace stores are just as dire..
People dont want functionality and quality any more -if they did the MINI & Fiat 500 wouldn't exist. It doesn't matter that it eats engines, drops doors and falls apart quicker that objectivity in a paedogeddon case - its cool to have the latest overpriced tat that'll last 2 years if you're lucky..
We used to be rightly proud of the things we made in Britain - true they were generally uglier than a hutts left butt cheek and had all the market appeal of a three week old kebab but they were built to last by skilled people and were home made from the ore & coal upwards. Now stuffs built to last five minutes by people who have to double declutch to manage more than two syllables for a company in China that got the raw materials from god alone knows where.. Chernobyl for all we know (ooh mummy, is my new car supposed to glow in the dark?!)
I'm sorry to be blunt but anyone who invests in this deserves an honorary Darwin Award in the Financial Suicide category. It might also be worth watching them carefully in case they try and make it a double entry by channelling Peter Capaldi in Torchwood:COE.. (I mean seriously, putting that on the BBC in the middle the worst recession since records began, what the hell did you think would happen?).
Whilst I think that you are perfectly correct when it comes to the Comet Brand, I would never buy White goods (or a TV for that matter) from Amazon unless there were really good VR views of both the inside and out of the item.
Until that happens there is still IMHO a place for Bricks and Mortar shops in this world. There is this thing about trying a number of devices and buying the one that suits you the best. This especially applies of On-Screen menus etc for TV's.
As for UK plc not making anything worthwhile any more, I am sure that there are lot of people who work in manufacturing plants all over the country who would beg to differ. The Nissan Plant in Sunderland is regarded as it's most efficient plant in the world. That measure includes the quality of the cars it produces.
The BAE plant in Wales that makes the AirBus wings, the Ford plants in Wales and Dagenham that make Engines would also take issue with your argument.
Perhaps you might like to revise your view of the world?
I wouldn't agree that bricks and mortar is dead. There is still room for it, as long as the retailers adapt to the current market. This is why so many big high street names have gone bust recently; they've failed to adapt.
Yes, Amazon et al are cheaper and are great for smaller purchases, but the high street has two main advantages; I want something today, and I want to speak to a human if it goes wrong. you simply can't do this with Amazon, and as a result people are still wary of making large electrical purchases online.
An amalgamation of online and physical stores seems to be the way forward. Look at Argos. First of all, they have excellent return facilities (30 day 'no quibble' returns). with regard to online, they don't just have their online catalogue, they also have the option of looking up your local store, checking stock and reserving your item before you go. The recession hit them as it hit everyone else, but this year they announced a return to growth, which is more than can be said for many other high street retailers.
However, reviving a dead company with a tarnished reputation, no matter how good the strategy, seems like a bad investment.
Last I heard Nissan was Japanese and started off making knockoffs of Austin 7s. Not to mention the conveniently forgotten bribes the UK govt paid to get it here in the first place..
RR make the Trent engine, you know the one, it sent them bust - bailout tastic yet again..
The majority of the rest are glorified contractors knocking out bits for such glorious products as the boeing barbecue-liner and other resounding success stories...
We haven't been a manufacturing power since 1945 and the writing was on the factory bog wall well before that...
I've said it before and will probably again... A foreign company in a british factory does not a british company make! And if I were you I'd pick anyone but Nissan, their reputation in Japan for the last decade makes the Austin Allegro seem like the automotive analogue of the Princess of Wales!
people are still wary of making large electrical purchases online.
I can only speak for myself, but white goods and larger brown goods are things I only purchase online. White goods, especially, all look much the same, and you can't evaluate their efficiency or reliability in a brick and mortar store. So my usual purchasing strategy is to decide on a brand and model using sites like Which, then search for the model number online. Having filtered out the obviously dodgy suppliers, I order from the cheapest. I don't have to waste my free time driving to retail parks and gawping at twenty similar appliances.
Customer service? I can't say I've been impressed by the service in Curry's, Dixon's, Comet et al. And if your washing machine breaks down, you don't take it back to the shop for repair.
Speedy delivery? Understandably, most stores don't hold stock of large white goods on site, so the delivery process is much the same as for an online purchase.
Stores aren't dead in that they lack a use, they just aren't very good at converting tyre kickers into customers.
It's a well known fact people go into stores to check out an item before buying it online. They just need to compete on service and price.
For items which you can't easily get into your car (things that Comet sold a lot of) the choice is clear, you have a look at one in store then buy online rather than struggle to lift it in and out of a car.
"We used to be rightly proud of the things we made in Britain - true they were generally uglier than a hutts left butt cheek and had all the market appeal of a three week old kebab but they were built to last by skilled people and were home made from the ore & coal upwards."
Are you looking through rose tinted glasses or do you remember British Leyland?
The first car I remember my dad having was a Cortina 4 & also a Viva. So yeah I am just old enough to remember them. I've also heard the stories of the Allegro that ate 4 driveshafts and 2 gearboxes under warranty which turned out to be proto numpties putting in the wrong box the first time & then would you believe replacing it with a new wrong one which promptly ate itself in fine style.
As I said, anything built in UK before WW2 is pretty much indestructible. The less said about anything afterwards the better. I had several 60s Sceptre cars - the interior was nice but made of vynide, cardboard & what appears to have been the sort of metal that would have embarrassed an Alfasud... and that on a car that cost £1000 in 63...
As to Nissan & the like they were paid to come here & it was a matter of pay your money and take yer choice for the government; either get ripped off by BL unions and pay through the nose to support BL/ARG or pay the bribes to the Japanese to get Nissan (who were about as popular in Japan as BL/ARG was here).
As to shopping in meatspace I only do it for food & most of that I do online. I think the last thing I bought en shop was a Nokia E70 circa 2006.. and it'll only get worse for the highstreet not better...
I bought a car stereo from Comet. Not only did it stop working but it chewed to pieces my saved-up-for Uriah Heep cassette. Comet took the whole tangled mess back for "repair" and I never saw it, or my money, again. I vowed never to buy from them in the future and I never did. It can't just be me. Why would anyone want to put money into a brand like that.
It could work, find some dirt cheap retail space on a dying high street using a mixture of money from the Mary Portas fund and EU regeneration pot, hire a bunch of trainees on zero hour contracts with financial support (also known as bribes) from the local 'back to work' scheme and Bob's your Uncle.
Pull in Lord Bong of El Reg to find a start up angle and you'll likely rasie some community catapault cash as well.
The more I type the more I feel an opportunity coming on....
Count me in,
then lets crowdfund the stock acquisition and sit back and...................
either what the revenue / profit roll in or more likely..............................
the debt pile up to kill the seed capital...................
then we can just walk away having not risked any of our own money......genius
perhaps even try the whole thing again until someone catches on and we need to do a runner.......
Never mind the tarnished brand name, wouldn't this be "passing off"? As I understand it the guy has tried and failed to gain control of whatever's left of Comet-the-electrical-retailers but intends to use the Comet name anyway.
(The wiki "passing off" page refers to goodwill, so this might not apply in Comet's case.)
I've recently thought that HMRC should get a better deal when companies go bust.
As it stands, its seems that the payout runs - administrators and their advisers (giving vultures a bad name), secured creditors (seldom seem to be the suppliers of the goods being sold but often another part of the group that was renting the store, or the name, to the trading arm), then, and only then do the poor bloody buyer who paid up-front, and the taxman get the scrapings.
At least if the HMRC got a nose in the leavings earlier some money might work its way back to provide income support for the staff laid off by the business or of a local supplier who folded because their bills hadn't been paid.
particularly when it is Govt that in some cases also get "stiffed" with picking up the tab for the pension schemes of such companies.
So to summarise the the Liquidator / Adminstratot vultures you can iamgien generate just enough cash to cover the secured debtors and their own fee's and frankly screw anyone else.
Perhaps a bit of risk and reward for the Adminsistrators might not go amiss. Word hard, harvest all the cash and liquidate all the assets to the max that way you get paid.
Instead of taking the easy option of selling a "pre-package" adminstration service which seems the original creditors and HMRC cheated out of £millions only for the same owners to buyt the assets back and start the scam all over again.................
Morally and Ethically corrupt at best. Criminal most likely..........
Comet is a busted flush and left a bad taste, smell and mess behind for consumers.
May I suggest 'Rasputin Radio', 'Ponzi products' or 'Madoff Machines'?
'Meridian Electrical' would be a better choice.
Not that its easy, Argos have the cheap & here niche, Richer sounds / Lakes the expertise, Dixons have the cheap & cheerful but wait for stock. Amazon/eBay have cheap take a punt and it will be here in a couple of days. Maplin have the gadgets. What need is he going to sell to?
They were one of the few retailers to have Apple trained staff for selling Apple kit. Handy if you didn't fancy the trip to your nearest city.
Argos have the cheap & here niche...
Have you ever compared their prices with anyone else? If you did, you'd never go near the place again.
not quite so sure Bricks'n'Mortar are dead, *quite* yet.
I am currently in the market for a tablet. The driving force being my wife has MS, and consequently her vision and coordination are less than perfect. Using a desktop PC isn't a wonderful experience, with 2x screen magnification and 200% browser scaling.
Initial indications are a 10" tablet might be a much better option. It can be held closer to the eyes, and seems to be easier to control by touch than mouse.
The problem is at a potential pocket-hit of £500, this isn't something to buy and then put to one side if it's not suitable. So a facility to demo one is pretty essential. However it's a waste of time going to any retail outlet, as the sales droids haven't a clue about accessibility features.
I agree; having been in Retail, IT Service and Consulting for a few decades now, the High Street or indeed Bricks and Mortar are far from dead.
What is very well demonstarted by Apple Stores is the social / personal sales experience, the service, the product quality and warranty.
I can only imagine your situation; however taking the time to visit and Apple Store and benefit from in my opinion the well trained and enthusiastic staff; also benefit from the many informal training sessions are the types of service that will define High Street stores of the future. Its the only way they can compete.
I would also agree that Richer Sounds also fit into this same category of high street survivors that are defining the new bricks and mortar sales experience.
Interesting that along with all the brands mentioned in this string that Jessops has not been mentioned........it has rather quietly come back to the high street................
> my wife has MS, and consequently her vision and coordination are less than perfect
I had to read that several times to make sense of it.
I know we've got some Microsoft-bashers here, but that seemed a little harsh at first sight...
Whenever I am buying any large electrical item I like to be able to touch and feel and "play" with it before I buy to make sure it meets my needs. For this I use the high street stores.
Currently however there is a major disconnect between online prices and bricks and mortar prices, so I do what many others do, and what is putting the retail stores out of business - I go to the store, look, touch, feel and play until I find the right item. Write down its make and model then go online to buy it.
The only place I have found that meets my need of being able to play with an item before buying, and get online prices is Richer Sounds, who will honour their online prices in store.
There are basically 2 reasons why Comet, Currys and Dixons got a bad name. The first - and much more unimportant - was that they didn't compete on price compared to online stores. But the second and far more significant is that their customer service and sales staff were literally some of the worst people to deal with ever.
The whole point of having a brick and mortar store is that people go in to try out products AND GET ADVICE FROM A REAL PERSON. That's where the value of a physical store is. Before online shopping, many people would go to a more expensive store, IF the customer service / advice provided there was better than a cheaper store. This is a point that was missed so massively by these stores and as a result they are now tarnished brand names.
Nope - the worst for customer service (well, if you can find one) are all the DIY sheds,
Not once since the demise of Comet (or Best-Buy for that matter) have I thought to myself, oh I wish that store still existed. Provided I order before teatime on a Friday, Amazon can have things to me next day (I'm a Prime member (and its not the first time I've been called that either)); Saturday morning's is the IT fair and beyond that, there is the choice of PC-Currys, Staples or Argos if there is something I'm desperate for.
Another box shifter is not what is required.
Count me out, as either investor or shopper.....this kind of headline makes me cringe