Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Jessops camera shop is in administration
CHAIN camera shop Jessops has been placed into administration after poor Christmas sales.
Jessops appointed Edward Williams, Rob Hunt and Matthew Hammond of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as administrators yesterday afternoon.
Staff in the Worcester branch, based on the High Street, were left fearing for their jobs as PwC said store closures were inevitable.
Customers could also be left out of pocket after it was announced it would not honour gift vouchers or goods that needed to be refunded at the present.
Jessop's administration marks the first high profile retail collapse of 2013 and comes soon after consumer electricals chain Comet hit the wall with 6,000 job losses.
Jessops, which has 192 stores and emplys 2000 staff throughout the UK, has suffered in recent years from online competition and a rise in camera phones.
It saw a significant decline in sales in 2012 and, following a poor Christmas period, forecasts indicate that the decline would continue in 2013.
Talks between directors, funders and key suppliers about financial support for the business were unsuccessful and the decision was taken to place the business into administration.
Mr Hunt, joint administrator and partner, said: “Our most pressing task is to review the company's financial position and hold discussions with its principal stakeholders to see if the business can be preserved.
“Trading in the stores is hoped to continue today but is critically dependent on these ongoing discussions.
“However, in the current economic climate it is inevitable that there will be store closures.”
In 2007, there was a swathe of store closure after the business went under a major overhaul.
Two years later, it came close to collapse before being rescued by its main lender HSBC in a controversial debt-for-equity swap that saw it taken off the stock market.
The bank took a 50 per cent stake in the business in return for writing off £34 million of loans.
There was speculation last year that suppliers such as Canon were considering injecting cash into Jessops to help prop the business up but no deal materialised.
The group last year also suffered the loss of its chief executive Trevor Moore, who left to head up HMV, as well as its chairman David Adams.
Martyn Everett was then appointed as chairman and Neil Old was promoted to lead the business as chief operating officer.
The firm began in 1935 when Frank Jessop opened his first shop in Leicester and is Britain's only specialist nationwide camera retailer with nearly 200 stores.