STRICKEN retailer Comet is axing 66 jobs at a distribution centre in Skelmersdale.
Deloitte, administrator for the collapsed electricals chain, says a total of 603 jobs will be lost from the company’s home delivery network across the UK.
Comet collapsed earlier this month and Deloitte is trying to find a buyer for parts of the business.
However, any deal will come too late for staff in at last 27 stores where closing down sales have already begun.
Its three outlets in Liverpool at Aintree, Speke and Edge Lane as well as stores in Bromborough, St Helens, Widnes, Chester and Ormskirk are continuing to trade.
The delivery network will continue to operate, with a significantly reduced workforce retained to complete deliveries and support the repairs operation.
Deloitte joint administrator Chris Farrington said discussions continued with parties interested in parts of the business but that it was necessary to begin a store closure programme and to scale back the company’s support functions.
He added: “While we will continue to do all we can to preserve jobs, we are working hard to put in place comprehensive support to help those employees who are made redundant during the administration.”
The group was hit by weak high street trading conditions, competition from online rivals and being unable to secure the trade credit insurance needed to safeguard suppliers.
In particular, it was knocked by the lack of first-time home buyers, which had been key customers for Comet, according to Deloitte.
Up to 41 Comet stores may have to close between now and the end of November, unless a buyer can be found.