Comet losses continue to mount

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Comet losses continue to mount

Microscope contributor

Comet continues to be the thorn in parent Kesa Electricals' side as revenues for the first half of fiscal 2011 sank and losses mounted.

At group level, profits rose nearly 20% to €32.4m while sales grew just over 4% to €2.77bn as Darty France, BCC, Vanden Borre and other continental operations moved in the right direction during the six months to 31 October.

In the UK however, Comet saw sales fall on a constant currency basis 2.6% to €864m (£724m) and losses increased from €1.8m a year earlier to €6.4m (£5.36m).

"Comet saw a positive start to the period with a strong World Cup campaign and successful delivery on a one-off initiative in multi-media, but saw more difficult trading conditions as the second quarter progressed," said Kesa boss Thierry Falque-Pierrotin

"There was a continuing strong focus on costs but first half weighting of expenditure relating to the core store refits and the brand refresh together with the more difficult trading environment contributed to Comet's retail loss," he added.

The UK business has undertaken a three pronged turnaround plan including building higher margin accessories and small domestic appliances product categories, refitting stores and a brand refresh marketing campaign.

Falque-Pierrotin said it was ready for the "competitive peak trading period" and continues to push through "self help measures in order to face an increasingly uncertain market environment".

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