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Comet falls to Earth

jondf 11 2.7k
2 Nov 2012 9:33PM
Naturally, one can feel sorry that, unless a buyer's found, over 7000 people will lose their jobs. But a bad experience with the retailer has meant my not setting foot in the place for the last eight years. If what happened way back then is any measure of how customers are and were treated then it comes as no surprise that the wall has finally arrived. However, if there's a knock down sale of liquidation goods, an exception to the rule may be enforced Smile

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2 Nov 2012 9:45PM
I remember when they used to sell half-decent stereo equipment in the 70s-80s. Bought quite a few items from them at the time. Then they became more mainstream and like any other electrical store, had to mix it with the competition. Sadly, they probably won't be the last big retailer to go into liquidation any time soon. I really feel for the people who will lose their jobs and the thousands of families that will be affected.
Pete Plus
17 18.8k 97 England
2 Nov 2012 9:45PM
Sad to see another one go.
I can remember when Comet was the only place in Sheffield where I could buy B+W filters! That was a very long time ago!
I have used them to buy many electrical items over the last 20 years.
MikeRC Plus
13 3.6k United Kingdom
2 Nov 2012 10:07PM
Three years ago I ordered a 28" monitor from Comet, then thanks to a thread in the forums I cancelled it and ordered a 22" monitor from another site...I've regretted it ever since and 'oft wished I'd stuck to my guns....

...I used to be indecisive but not sure now. Smile
edtaylor 6 104 United Kingdom
3 Nov 2012 7:12AM
I bought a Telly from them many years ago. I month later saw it in another of their stores 70quid cheaper. I mentioned it to them. They said bring your reciept and we will give you the 70quid back. Good on them for that.
Be sad if they do go to the wall.
brian1208 Plus
14 11.4k 12 United Kingdom
3 Nov 2012 10:19AM
I will be very sorry to see our local Comet close. They have always been lovely people to deal with and I have used them for a lot of my larger "White Goods" type purchases + TVs etc.

On the few occasions I have had a problem with a product they have always been "on my side" and sorted the difficulties out quickly.

Seems to me like yet another asset stripping Venture Capital company has struck
collywobles 14 4.0k 10 United Kingdom
4 Nov 2012 9:50AM
Over the years I have bought many items from them from TV's to Fridges to Batteries etc. They were probably the firstof the large discount store by which many of the later stores copied. It is a sad loss especially for the staff but they did not change with the times and have paid the price. Business is all about improvement and innovation and if you stand still in business your rivals will walk away with your customers!

Quote:Seems to me like yet another asset stripping Venture Capital company has struck

Nothing wrong with that - if Comet had maintained a strong business the Cap Venture Co would not have been interested so you cannot blame Capital Venturists.
jondf 11 2.7k
4 Nov 2012 9:52AM
[Quote] On the few occasions I have had a problem with a product they have always been "on my side"

In my case an in-warranty 20" CRT (i.e heavy) television was returned to the store three times with the same fault and a demand from me for my money back. But the burly wrestler/rugby type (wonder why?) behind the counter still didn't seem to get it. He had to go through the tedious procedure of calling the repair facility to get 'the full story'. What a farce. He saw reason soon enough when the shouting started.
dcash29 12 2.3k England
4 Nov 2012 11:12AM
Why do we keep papping on about these stores closing??

We know that we need to research the product before we purchase due to the donkey's they employ and that we all buy off the internet so its inevitable.
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
4 Nov 2012 11:32AM

Quote:Why do we keep papping on about these stores closing??

We know that we need to research the product before we purchase due to the donkey's they employ and that we all buy off the internet so its inevitable.

You do not think your behaviour leads to the scenario you mention, and that eventually you loose the ability to try products out. The problem is we are not prepared to pay enough to justify those stores and to pay for highly trained highly motivated staff in those stores.I view it as immoral to go into the store to try the kit out then go back to the net and buy from another person. Even worse to buy from a trader in another country where the taxes are avoided, but that is me. Things I try first I buy from a retailer I try with.

Internet companies offer good at lower cost for good reasons, they have lower overheads, fewer staff, and if they organise it correctly they carry less stock tying up less cash and needing fewer people etc. Small wonder it is becoming so hard for companies to have a high street presence. To compete the stores have to keep rent down and cannot pay big wages so shop workers get squeezed, so its no wonder that the people with better knowledge/people skills etc head off for different jobs.

Think about it, if you have 100 stores then each store needs at least 100 demo pieces of each type and needs a few to sell, while the internet company just needs a supply agreement with the vendor, no samples or stock, so that could easily be 300 pieces less in terms of stock holding, and if it is a camera @ 700 for example the working cash difference is a lot. That is even before you count the rental and wages difference.

So if we want to have shops in our local towns and cities we need to accept we will have a to pay a premium over the internet companies, or start levying some sort of trade tax on such companies or the delivery service. And if we want employment for all in this country we need to think on that because as more and more goes to the internet you get fewer people working in shops and also the support jobs like repair men, so more people out of work claiming benefit so a greater need for taxes.. So buying from internet companies over shops may in effect only be a short term saving before we all have to repay. I think there is a need for the government to think about a special internet sales tax for our economic good as one possible solution rather than keeping on raising income tax, or they could tax businesses according to ho they trade. Perhaps close off the tax loopholes Costa and Amazon and the non-EURO companies use....

There is a lot of stupid short term thinking things going on at the moment, its not just the banks, all of us are playing a part. Yes businesses rise and fall, but then so do countries, and its time for us to think on where do we want to be. It may be time to have elements of social planing. Or it could be we just have to accept ever rising income tax for those in work to pay for the increasing numbers out of work.... We pay, one way or another.

It just strikes me that much of the economic situation talked about and growth of the economy could be fixed, but we do not like the thought of the medicine.
KenTaylor Plus
13 3.1k 2 United Kingdom
4 Nov 2012 11:37AM

Quote:However, if there's a knock down sale of liquidation goods, an exception to the rule may be enforced Smile

That will be anytime now.
Carabosse 15 41.1k 270 England
4 Nov 2012 11:40AM

Quote:eventually you loose the ability to try products out.

Not really, when you can order from Amazon (or whatever), try it out thoroughly for up to 30 days and return the item if it does not suit.

As opposed to a couple of minutes looking over the product, with an impatient queue behind you in a shop! Wink
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
4 Nov 2012 11:47AM
I would not mind as long as Amazon starts to pay some tax. It is receiving some unfair advantages over competitors. 3.B in profits and no corp tax, yes mr taxman and government officials sharpen your pencils and get this loop hole closed it is in the countries interest. They are set up as an order fulfilment not retail facility in the UK, so perhaps in that light they should loose the right to be classed as a UK retailer.

Apart from that yup try use that model if you wish.

Amazon are not alone, hence the request to close the loophole.
Carabosse 15 41.1k 270 England
4 Nov 2012 11:52AM

Quote:I would not mind as long as Amazon starts to pay some tax

I was only using Amazon as an example. I understand they actually made a loss in their last quarter, but that may have been for specific reasons rather than overall financial health.

Most online retailers will allow a period for returns. With WEX it is 14 days, I think.
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
4 Nov 2012 11:59AM
Yes CB it is called Tax avoidance. It is very easy to set up your business to make a good profit in one country and then may "special payments" etc to other divisions such that magically in one country it turns a loss. Costa play a similar trick. Till our generous tax laws are tightened this will happen. Its not like Costa or Amazon will say they will remove their business as the UK is a lucrative market, it is just they are avoiding paying taxes here. So lets hit the obvious targets.

Quote:"Amazon EU serves tens of millions of customers and sellers throughout Europe from multiple consumer websites in a number of languages, dispatching products to all 27 countries in the EU. We have a single European headquarters in Luxembourg with hundreds of employees to manage this complex operation." Figures from 2010 accounts show a skewed picture - the Luxembourg operation employs just 134 people yet generates 6.5 billion, whereas the UK operation employs over 2,000 employees with a turnover of just 147 million...

Quote:So how does the internet giant do it? Well, while Amazon may package and send the vast majority of its UK orders from its giant distribution centre in Milton Keynes where it employs more than 2,000 people Amazon.co.uk is a "service company" rather than a retailer, providing fulfilment, marketing and support services to a Luxembourg-based parent.
That means that while it may be Amazon.co.uk that sends UK customers that discounted copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People it will be Luxembourg-based Amazon Eu Sarl that collects the 6.19.
It's a structure that (presumably) means Amazon books its profits in Luxembourg, which has a lower corporation tax rate than the UK, although it is impossible to know for sure. It is not just tax rates that are lower in Luxembourg so are levels of disclosure. There is no requirement for Amazon Eu Sarl to publish annual accounts, unlike Amazon.co.uk.

A case for the European union to harmonise disclosure and tax laws. Given amazon.co.uk receives the sale should it not be liable at that point. I am not saying Amazon are alone or breaking the law, rather they are exploiting a loop hole that should be closed.

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