A BUSINESSMAN who tried to take over the Comet brand name has launched his own bid to start an electrical chain.
Clive Coombes has set up a shop in Bournemouth and intends to use it as the start of a new-style chain selling low-price goods.
He aims to open 80 stores in the south this year.
The idea is that small “service centres” in town centres will be linked to major superstores on out-of-town sites.
The business, called Lewisons, has opened at 35 The Triangle in Bournemouth and Mr Coombes says a superstore is set to open within the next couple of months, probably in Millbrook, Southampton.
Customers will be able to choose from a wide range of stock which can be delivered to the smaller stores the same day or the next. The shop at the Triangle sells home entertainment products, kitchen and home domestic appliances.
Prices will be set very close to the figures customers will see at the major online companies.
Mr Coombes says his business takes the last letters of its name from the Ison comet.
“We wanted to take over the Comet brand. We were unsuccessful in taking that over,” he said.
“We couldn’t trade under our first name which was Meridian Comet because of trademark issues so we renamed it Lewisons.”
He added: “We went to Europe and we had a look at the stores there. A lot of the stores in Europe are larger but their products are low price.”
Within months, he predicts “there will be at least three service centres and one distribution depot”.
The shop is currently served from a warehouse in Totton.
Mr Coombes, who previously worked in insolvency and specialised in company turnarounds, says he believed Comet was a viable business which made good profit in its last months.
His new venture has been backed by individual private investors, he said. “The backers all think it will take off,” he added.
“We’ll have cheap shop fittings, low overheads and sell cheap. That’s the motto. I want to get it out there as cheap as we can go to the customer.”