By Michael Northcott Wednesday, 09 January 2013

Shutter closing for Jessops

The high street camera and photography retailer has fallen into administration, putting around 2,000 employees' jobs at risk.

Another bad day for anyone concerned about traditional high street retailers: camera shops chain Jessops has fallen into administration, with PwC taking on the job of winding down operations. 

PwC explained in a statement that Jessops’ marketplace saw a ‘significant decline’ in 2012, and it is not expecting the slide to be reversed in 2013.

The administrators added: ‘In addition, the position deteriorated in the run up to Christmas as a result of reducing confidence in UK retail. 

Despite additional funding being made available to the company by the funders, this has meant that Jessops has not generated the profits it had planned with a consequent impact on its funding needs. This was exacerbated by a credit squeeze in the supplier base.’

But it looks like the situation has deteriorated more quickly than with Comet’s demise at the end of last year. PwC has already announced that Jessops ‘is not in a position to honour customer vouchers or to accept returned goods.’ Cash must be bleedin’ tight.

The chain has been struggling for the last few years with equity investors losing everything after the firm’s flotation in 2004, because shares fell from 155p to ‘penny-stock’. This was partly because the firm was forcing through a restructuring process which involved cancelling £34m worth of debt as a swap for a 47% stake in the company. 

Things have not been going well since then either, with more bank finance given out by HSBC in 2009, and then just last year Trevor Moore quit as chief executive after three years at the top. Chairman David Adams also left, leaving a pretty intense vacuum at the top of senior management. 

Jessops operates more than 200 stores around the UK, and was founded by Frank Jessop, who opened his first shop developing films in 1935 in Leicester. But competition from mobile phone camera technology, as well as the rise of internet retailers, have finally taken their toll.

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