Jobs threat at camera chain

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JOBS are under threat at camera chain Jessops which has a store in Abingdon Street , Blackpool, after the firm went into administration.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been appointed to the group, which is Britain’s only specialist nationwide camera retailer and which has nearly 200 stores.

A spokesman for PwC said stores would have to close at Jessops, which was founded in Leicester in 1935, and employs around 2,000 nationally, but it was hoped that some would be kept open for trading and that no detial on job losses were available today.

He said that while Jessops was a well-known brand with a strong reputation for service, its core marketplace had seen a significant decline in 2012, which was forecast to continue in 2013.

It marks the first high-profile retail collapse of 2013 and comes soon after consumer electricals chain Comet hit the wall last month, sparking more than 6,000 job losses.

Jessops has suffered in recent years from increasing online competition and the boom in camera phones, which has hit demand for digital cameras.

PwC said Jessops was not in a position to honour customer vouchers at present, and it would also not accept returned goods.

Administrator Rob Hunt said PwC was holding discussions with stakeholders to see if the business could be preserved.

He said: “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.”

PwC said the company’s core market had seen a “significant decline” in 2012 and its position had “deteriorated” in the run-up to Christmas, as a result of reducing confidence in UK retail.

In 2009, Jessops managed to avoid administration by agreeing a debt for equity swap with its lender HSBC.

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