THREE of the regions Comet stores are among 54 closing their doors as hopes fade over a rescue deal for the stricken consumer chain.

The store in Durham ceases trading today (Friday, December 7) followed by Harrogate tomorrow (Saturday December 8) and Darlington on Sunday.

Sales offering at least 50 per cent off products, except televisions and laptops, have been launched at 54 stores closing between now and early next week.

They are among the 125 store closures already announced by administrator Deloitte in a move expected to result in around 3,000 retail job losses. The remaining 70 stores are expected to be closed by Christmas unless a buyer can be found.

Comet collapsed into administration last month in what marked one of the biggest high street casualties since the demise of Woolworths in 2008 and followed a month after the failure of JJB Sports.

A number of firms are thought to have put forward potential bids, with Appliances Online confirming it had made an offer for Comets website under plans to continue the business exclusively online.

But administrators said last week they had no option but to start closing stores in the absence of a firm offer for the whole of the business.

Around 2,600 jobs have already been axed by administrators, including more than 200 due to the closure of the companys distribution centre in Harlow, Essex, last Friday.

Comet 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.