Businessman who tried to take over Comet launches bid to start own electrical chain

new venture: Clive Coombes, CEO, left, and Graham Groves, operations director, of Lewisons Electrical Retail

new venture: Clive Coombes, CEO, left, and Graham Groves, operations director, of Lewisons Electrical Retail

First published in News

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.”

Comments (5)

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12:27pm Thu 16 Jan 14

Bournemouth87 says...

Best of luck to him. If this is creating more jobs then excellent.
Best of luck to him. If this is creating more jobs then excellent. Bournemouth87
  • Score: 0

3:02pm Thu 16 Jan 14

BarrHumbug says...

If its run alongside an order online and collect and pay in store on the same or next day then I think It could do well but I think if people go into Bournemouth and they don't have the item but are told they can come back again the next day that might put them off?
If its run alongside an order online and collect and pay in store on the same or next day then I think It could do well but I think if people go into Bournemouth and they don't have the item but are told they can come back again the next day that might put them off? BarrHumbug
  • Score: 2

3:36pm Thu 16 Jan 14

pete woodley says...

Give it 18 months,at the most.
Give it 18 months,at the most. pete woodley
  • Score: 1

7:48pm Thu 16 Jan 14

DUCKFEEDER says...

good idea, looking at dixons group it seems that 46% of it's sales were through the online process
good idea, looking at dixons group it seems that 46% of it's sales were through the online process DUCKFEEDER
  • Score: -1

3:39pm Sat 18 Jan 14

Jackanackanory says...

Is this serious - have you looked at the website. No wonder the administrators for Comet wouldn't sell the name to him - he is planning 80 stores in a year, all with hand written price tickets on bright coloured paper stars. The future of retail is the same as it was in the 80's?? I think not. Anybody seen the Walter Mitty film??
Is this serious - have you looked at the website. No wonder the administrators for Comet wouldn't sell the name to him - he is planning 80 stores in a year, all with hand written price tickets on bright coloured paper stars. The future of retail is the same as it was in the 80's?? I think not. Anybody seen the Walter Mitty film?? Jackanackanory
  • Score: 0

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