End for Jessops, camera chain that began as a chemist's shop

Jan 10, 2013

Administrator PWC admits that even if a buyer can be found, there will be store closures

JESSOPS has become the latest victim of high street carnage by entering administration, The Guardian reports. Up to 2,000 jobs could go at the camera chain, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which admits that even if a buyer is found store closures are on the cards.

A decision on closures will come within days depending on support from suppliers, Eddie Williams, joint administrator for PWC said.

Jessops has been hit by growing internet sales and increasing reliance on smartphones by consumers for taking photographs.

The store is 47 per cent owned by HSBC which effectively took control in 2009 because it was owed £80 million. Some 33 per cent of the company is owned by the employee pension scheme and the remaining 20 per cent by another employee trust. The pension fund is effectively controlled by the Pension Protection Fund which took on the shares in 2009 in return for guaranteeing final salary pensions.

Jessops traces its history back 130 years to a chemist's shop in Leicester.

Frank Jessop started renting out cine cameras in the 1930s but his son Alan transformed the company and started opening branches around the country. He sold the chain in 1996 when he retired.

The firm managed sales of £236 million in the year to December 2012 but has not made a profit since 2009 and lost £909,000 in the year to 1 January 2012, the last period for which official numbers are available.

Since the 2008 credit crunch a string of big name shops have gone into administration. The list includes Comet, JJB Sports, Peacocks, Game and Blacks Leisure. Administration means a company is insolvent but gives it protection from creditors while rescue attempts are made.

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